I have a rule: No boring salads. Family members count on me to bring the green stuff when they’re hosting dinner. My sister-in-law called recently for ideas, when she had more dark green leafy vegetables than she knew what to do with, so I traded these favourite recipes for a chance to raid her amazing garden.
- Swiss chard, strawberry, feta salad (Canadian Living) — Heavenly. Fresh and light meets crunchy and savoury. I know what you’re thinking: “Uh, Cheryl, those are blackberries.” Yep. A recipe is just a starting point; improvise with what you’ve got. I had this on the meal plan last week, but little mouths gobbled up all of the strawberries, so it became a blackberry salad. Even better. My other addition to the original is basil, since by some miracle I haven’t yet killed this year’s crop in our garden. Definitely use if you have it.
- The best shredded kale salad (Oh She Glows) — This is one of those dishes that can kale skeptics into fans. It’s a bit of a project, but worth it if you have time, and vegan, if that’s important to you. The pecan “parmesan” is key, so don’t skip it.
- Kale and quinoa salad with cranberries and feta (Dinner with Julie) — One of our all-time favourites, and a sure winner for a potluck. This is another one that does really well with improvisation: Swap the feta for asiago, add shredded carrots or chopped purple cabbage… whatever you have that you’d like to use up. And bonus: instead of a dressing you have to mix separately, you just drizzle olive oil and season with a squeeze of lemon. What could be simpler?
- Crunchy spinach and beet salad (Nutrition Action Healthletter) — I’m not a big fan of spinach salads, but for some reason, the chopped apples, sunflower seeds, beets, chickpeas, feta cheese and classic vinaigrette go perfectly with spinach. Hearty and filling, this is a (vegetarian) meal in and of itself, perfect for hot summer nights (cook the beets in the morning or buy them pre-cooked).
- Lentil and barley salad (Dinner with Julie) — Another Julie van Rosendaal creation. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) It comes from her excellent cookbook, Spilling the Beans, which is packed with easy, delicious ideas for getting more legumes and whole grains on your plate. I added it to this list because it’s another scrumptious way to sneak in spinach.
- Easy arugula salad (allrecipes.com) — True to its name, this is a side salad you can throw together on a weeknight, because it truly only takes about ten minutes. Again, you don’t have to make dressing – just toss the arugula, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and parmesan with olive oil and rice vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and you’re done.
- Arugula pasta salad (Mark Bittman) — This one is so simple there’s no recipe to link to. It came from a fun Mark Bittman article in the New York Times where he gives 101 ideas for simple salads. He simply says, “Mix lots of arugula with somewhat less cold whole wheat penne, lemon zest, olive oil and Parmesan. The idea is an arugula salad with pasta, not a pasta salad with arugula.” We like it better with rotini, because of the fun texture, but either works.
There you go. Now when you hear the suggestion to have a dark green leafy vegetable every day, you have seven more delicious ideas for what on earth to do with them. (#noboringsalads!)
What are your favourite ways to prepare these nutrition powerhouses in the summer? Share on the Sweet Spot Facebook page.