Make the Most of Your Home Salad Bar

November 6, 2012

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It took me a long time to figure out that preparing food when I have time and energy for the chore instead of simply when I’m driven into the kitchen by hunger leads to my best, healthiest, most relaxed eating. It also makes the food prep more enjoyable. It feels good to take care of myself in this way, cleaning and chopping vegetables at my leisure while catching up on phone calls (I wear a headset) or watching movies or Youtube¬† playlists on my laptop.

I mix up salad dressings in mason jars (1/2 olive oil and/or tahini, 1/4 vinegar and/or lemon juice, a teaspoon or two of salt, perhaps some minced garlic, mustard, onion powder, a pinch of dried dill or basil, perhaps a drizzle of agave if I’m craving sweetness) and I replenish my revolving home salad bar with chopped greens, carrots, and cabbage. TIP:¬† I don’t usually slice peppers ahead, however, as they spoil quickly. ANOTHER TIP: don’t refrigerate your tomatoes. It changes their texture in an unpleasant way. And anyway, they taste better when they’re not cold.

While I’m at it, I’ll soak dried beans (or start to simmering beans I’ve previously soaked and drained), or hard boil a few eggs, and maybe move a bag of frozen peas or corn into the refrigerator. And I’ll pickle slivered Spanish onions in a brine of vinegar and salt. (Just enough vinegar to wet the onions, plus a liberal sprinkle of salt, enough so each piece is salted.)dulse

In my salad today I benefit greatly from the home salad bar. The little dark bits are dulse flakes (it can be purchased as flakes or whole leaves). Dulse is a sea vegetable which is pleasantly salty and briny tasting and is a great source of trace minerals. Though dried, the leaves are delicate and do not need to be reconstituted or cooked before eating. I sometimes take dulse leaves in a baggie along with almonds and dried mango as a snack when I go for long bike rides or hikes on a hot day. Nature’s electrolyte replenisher.


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