Although we do regularly eat salad during the winter, it is at this time of year when we Canadians start to think warmer thoughts, that it really comes into its own! When I was a kid, salad was synonymous with lettuce. The big, green, leafy kind that we used to think was great for rabbits, but not really fit for human consumption. Our parents used to put it on the plate just to derive enjoyment from our displeasure, or so we believed. Well, I’m happy to report that things have drastically changed and salad in all its many glorious forms is today, a staple of our diet.
To tell the truth, we do not often buy simple head lettuce. As a base for our many and varied salad plates we normally start with one of the mixed green varieties that are popping up in almost every grocery store. The one pictured on the left is typical of its ilk. Don’t be fooled by the ‘organic’ label. We are not avid followers of the trend, it merely happened to be on special and was therefore the cheapest. What I really look for the most is a long best-before date, since leafy salad mixes tend to spoil relatively quickly.
I realize that many of my readers are probably already zoning out because salad is just not your thing. However, don’t turn off completely just yet because I am going to give you a couple of add-ins that might just have you changing your mind:
Un-Chef Bean Salad: Don’t buy this ready-made. This couldn’t be easier to prepare and you can go from zero to hero in five minutes. Next time you visit the grocery store, pick up a variety of beans that catch your fancy. There are many to choose from: garbanzo beans (chick peas), black-eyed beans, wax, yellow or green beans, kidney beans and pre-mixed (but not pre-seasoned) varieties our our personal choices. Take about 3 different cans and drain off the excess liquid. Chop up some onion very finely (red onion works well here). Now make a dressing using balsamic vinegar, olive oil, green seasoning and a touch of molasses according to taste. You can check our Top Ten Ingredients if any of these is unknown to you.
Perfect Potato Salad: Until I started making potato salad this particular way, Dorothy would not usually eat it. Now, I can put it on her plate knowing that I am no longer torturing her! I generally start with new red potatoes or the variety pack of baby potatoes for colour. These I pre-cook, drain and cool. Then I add finely chopped onion and celery. The dressing is made with mayonnaise or salad dressing, grainy French mustard, relish and green seasoning. You will have to play with these ingredients to get the perfect blend for your personal taste. As I have mentioned before, I rarely measure things so I can’t give you exact amounts anyway!
Now, you can keep both these salads in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks and they are always ready for you to whip up a quick but interesting and filling meal when you don’t feel like putting in too much effort!
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