Are you a salad person?
I never used to be. To be quite honest, I hated salads. I never quite understood them. I used to think…What is the point of salads? I mean, they’re not filling. They’re not even tasty. They’re just a crisp and cold side to the main meal (usually carbs-galore, I may add). I only had them because they were apparently meant to be good for me.
Turns out, I was doing salads all wrong.
When done properly, they are the divine epitome of a perfect meal. We’re talking texture, flavour, satisfaction and glowing health! They don’t have to be a side – unless that’s what you make them! If you portion them out to the size of your palm then – yes! They will be and always remain a side!
In the past, I had incorrectly thought that all salads must consist of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. Nothing more, nothing less. This was how salads were made at my home and this is what I was accustom to. It didn’t matter if one does not like raw tomatoes, they must be present. Addition of any other vegetable? That’s not a salad. It wouldn’t even taste nice anyway. Fruits and vegetables must stay separate (I did not yet know tomatoes were fruits). What is this mixing of the fruits and the vegetables?! This is chaos.
As you can see, I had some pretty maladaptive thoughts about salads. What compelled me to harbor such negativity? I will never know.
I became a changed woman when my father began experimenting in the kitchen and started adding things such as avocados, dried fruit, herbs and proteins to our salads. At first, it was weird. I avoided them. I questioned his sanity and his position as a cook in the household kitchen. But eventually, I tried one. It was a combination of spinach, swiss chard, olives, feta cheese, coriander, avocado and an olive oil based dressing.
And by the word of God, it was delicious. And it was good for me.
I realised how much nutrition I had been missing out on. I mean, we all need more veggies in our diet, who doesn’t know this? But it was then that it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be getting the nutrition my body needs with my minuscule portion of boring lettucecucumbertomato salads in any lifetime. I need these fancy salads in my life. Preferably on a daily basis.
What I didn’t know before is that to make a salad a complete and satisfying meal, the portion needs to be big. A large
mountain plate of vegetables is key and adding protein to this will ensure you stay satiated for a good few hours. You have to build your salad like a main meal in order for it to fill you up like a main meal. I like making the base of my salad with lettuce and cucumber because they are pretty neutral in taste and add a lovely crispiness. Then, with this base, I begin adding the other elements of the salad. For this particular one, I layered it with chopped spinach, aromatic coriander, fresh mint and half of a small pitted sweet and tangy pomegranate. That’s it! I had this with grilled chicken, but I reckon it would be rockin’ with some tender, juicy lamb to compliment the tangy pomegranates. Oh, that sounds heavenly. In fact, I have now decided I shall be having this very salad with lamb today for lunch.
Doesn’t it feel good, eating food that tastes great knowing it is benefiting you in the inside? Knowing that the food you are putting in your body will pay your body back in the form of vitamins and nutrients that will make you look and feel amazing? I know it makes me feel pretty awesome! One of my favourite vegetables in spinach. I love chopping it up and putting it into salads, curries, pasta dishes etc because when it wilts, a whole bag of spinach becomes next to nothing so you’re getting a whole load of that good stuff in! The same applies to chopping it – a few handfuls of spinach becomes a mere few tablespoons. Also, lets not forget that the nutrient profile for it is AWESOME. I suffer from anaemia and spinach has a load of iron in it – more per gram than beef! It’s also rich in Vitamin A, B2 C, K, magnesium, folic acid – the list is quite extensive. I think it’s pretty safe to declare we should all be getting some of this stuff in our systems NOW. And with that, here is the recipe for this beautiful salad.