There is no better way to fill your bod with nutrient dense and super fresh fruits and vegetables than with a salad. But salads have a bad name. And for good reason. A lot of the time salads can be the kind of boring food choice that sends hungry bellies straight to snoresville. I know that when a salad is the only real vegan option on a pub or cafe menu, by the time it gets placed in front of me sans meat and cheese, it eliciting an “I should have just got the fries” response is at a 100% strike rate. And who could forget The Simpson’s taunting Lisa with a conga line chorus of: “you don’t win friends with salad.”
The Simpson’s were right: you don’t win friends with a bowl of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. That kind of salad is for suckers. But once you learn how to build an anti-salad, you won’t care about winning friends — your sights will be set on world domination. Whaaaaat? For reals. Like, reals realz.
You want a plate of goodness that packs some serious punch. No sissy salads here. You want vitality-giving whole foods all up in yo’ grill but with some serious flavour and texture to take your healthy meal into anti-salad territory. Now, listen up son!
Step 1: Lay it down baby
Lay down your base. If it’s green, it’s good. Don’t worry about it being bitter: you will balance that out with other ingredients later. If you are using tougher greens like kale, chard or beet leaves you can easily soften them up by massaging them with some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and a healthy oil (like olive, avocado or macadamia ). If you want your anti-salad to step up to the next level of bad-assery, make your base a partnership of greens and grain or for an asian-inspired anti-salad you could rock some healthy noodles and herbs.
- Rocket (arugala), baby spinach, endive, shredded cabbage, lettuce varieties
- Massaged kale, chard or beet leaves
- Quinoa and spinach, basil or parsley
- Brown rice and shredded cabbage or coriander (cilantro)
- Soba or rice noodles with coriander and mint
- Zucchini noodles
Step 2: Chuck in the fun stuff
This is where you load up this bad boy with a tonne of colour and flavour.
- Diced tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or sundried tomatoes
- Crunch factor in the way of cucumber, celery, fennel or radish
- Pop in the piquant bringers: peppers, chillies, red onion or spring onions
- Rock a rainbow with some shredded carrot or beetroot
- Fruit? Why not? This is an anti-salad, you ain’t living by the rules. Strawberries, mandarin segments, orange pieces, blueberries, slices of apple or pear or dried fruit
- Marinated eggplant or artichoke hearts
- Spice roasted pumpkin, potato or sweet potato
Step 3: Power it up with some protein
The possibilities are endless. Bring a bit of warmth to your anti-salad or keep it chill.
- Raw or roasted mushrooms
- Asian-style marinated tofu chunks
- Maple roasted tempeh cubes
- Kidney beans
- Cannelini beans
- Spice roasted chickpeas
- Strips of your favourite cruelty-free chick’n or beef
Step 4: Make it PHAT homes
Here you make your salad phat with the addition of healthy fats.
- Avocado chunks
- Flaxseed, Hemp or Chia oil
Step 5: Things about to get saucy
Forget ‘dressings’ — that’s a lame salad term. Anti-salad punks add sauce.
- Avocado + olive oil + garlic + lemon juice blitzed
- Sesame seeds + sesame oil + tamari + coriander + lime + lemon + ginger
- Tahini + lemon + tamari + filtered water + pepper
- Mango + macadamia oil + chilli + lime blitzed
- Dollop any number of homemade hummus combos on top
- Homemade spicy salsa
- Or if you’re in a rush you can’t go past flaxseed oil + apple cider vinegar + fresh herbs
Step 6: Give your anti-salad super powers
This is where you place a crown of awesomeness on your plate of wholesomeness. Top that hot mess off with something fermented or something crunchy or both!
- Fermented cashew cheese
- Nutritional yeast
- Activated nuts or seeds
- or THE PERFECT anti-salad addition are the Pimp My Salad Sprinkles by Kamarov. In this month’s Vegan Box you will have received their zesty garlic and cayenne kale sprinkles. Their super seed sprinkles are also an amazing way to add super powers to your anti-salad.
Eat that up. Dominate.
Emma Bailie is a freelance journalist, vegan blogger and travel-memoir writer. She is passionate about animal rights, social justice and the inner peace that can be found when dining on the tragically misrepresented potato. She has to read magazines back to front but she doesn’t quite know why. She prefers her hot chips cold but that’s just between you and her, okay?