Single girl + big-ass salad

Home alone.  Ahhh.  I love the hubs, but playing bachelorette is kind of nice sometimes.

And let me tell you, it’s a party up in here.  The excitement du jour?  Eating a salad for dinner.

Seriously, I could eat a big-ass salad for dinner every single night.  And while the hubs likes them okay, he doesn’t share my salad passion.  Personally, I just don’t think he appreciates the deliciousness that a big-ass salad can be.  A full plate of greens topped with all sorts of goodies?  Hell yes, please.

So while he is away on a work trip?  I shall eat salad.  And drink wine.  While talking to my cats.

(Um, yeah….it’s a good thing I’m not actually single, right?  Because that might be pretty crazy-cat-lady?)

Today’s EAT: Big-ass salad components: baby spinach, spring mix, pea shoots, sliced plum, goat cheese, chicken, candied pecans.  Topped with homemade balsamic.  Perfection on a salad plate.

A big-ass salad is really fun to make, and totally healthy too.  I always make sure my big-ass salads include at least one of each:

  • A salty.  In this case, goat cheese.  Also good: salty nuts, bacon bits, crushed tortilla chips, edamame.
  • A meat.  Or a substantial protein at least.  This is what gives your salad its substance and makes it a meal instead of a side dish.  I prefer roasted beast (grilled chicken or thinly sliced steak) but shrimp, tofu, tempeh, beans, etc work well too.
  • A sweet.  I love fresh fruit on my salad!  Pretty much any fruit works.  Diced apple and balsamic-marinated strawberries are a couple of my favorites.  And fresh berries of any kind in the summer.  Yum.
  • A treat.  For me tonight, this was the candied pecans.  Your treat can be whatever you want – something candy-ish like sugared nuts, something savory like crispy bacon, even something ridiculous like crumbled potato chips.  With any of these things, a small sprinkling adds a ton of fun and flavor.  And since you’re eating a salad loaded with greens, fruits, veggies and lean protein for a meal, you can indulge a bit on one of the toppings!

A couple of other tips:

  • Dress lightly.  Sure, you can pour ranch all over your big-ass salad if you want to.  I love ranch.  But that kind of defeats the purpose of having a light and healthy dinner.  Stick to tangy vinegar-based dressings which pack a lot of flavor punch with just a drizzle.
  • Think dark green. Skip the iceberg and romaine and go for something super duper green.  Baby spinach, arugula, spring lettuce mixes…the greener the greens, the more good stuff they’ve got in them.  And herby greens give such a nice spicy flavor to a big-ass salad.
  • Heat your meat.  There is nothing worse than icky-looking, pale-white, cold-ass chicken.  I cook mine over relatively high heat so that it gets a nice golden-brown sear on the outside and serve it warm.  This goes for tofu too!  Somehow a salad with warm meat feels more like a real meal to me.

Big-ass salad, I love you.  You are such a satisfying dinner.  We shall meet again, the next time the hubs goes out of town!

Today’s DRINK:  I have a new career idea.  I am going to be the person on whom wine distributors test clever packaging, to see if consumers will be suckered in to buying the bottle based on aww-factor alone.

This Jam Jar “Sweet Shiraz” was in my shopping cart today within seconds of spotting its cuteness on the shelf.  Seriously, I didn’t even look at what kind of wine it was.  Kitchy name? Check.  Adorable label and bottle, complete with Smuckers-esque checkered top? Check.  Appealing type of wine? Umm, what?

I probably would never buy something called “Sweet Shiraz” if it weren’t for the clever name and packaging.  Well played, Jam Jar people.

I’m sipping it after dinner, though, and it’s surprisingly enjoyable!  Yes, it’s rather sweet and…well, jammy, in the most literal sense.  It’s good, though!  This would be an excellent choice for introducing someone who is not a red wine drinker to red wine.    Or a good choice for a dessert red, when you don’t want to go as heavy as a Port.

Today’s RUN: I knew I was taking today off of running, but had sort of planned to go to Pilates or Spinning or something at the gym.  But…it was raining.  So it became a day totally off. 🙂

Today’s QUESTION: What do you put on your big-ass salad?

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22 responses to “Single girl + big-ass salad

  1. Since reading my sweet daughter’s gift of Michael Pollan’s book, “Ominvore’s Dilemma” (a great read if you want to really know where your food comes from), I have been gravitating more toward vegetarianism . Otherwise I would also go with some kind of tasty meat on the salad! I have found though that there are more good non-meat, non soy (tofu) protein sources than I thought…like peas, all kinds of beans, brown rice, and many other veggies actually. So, I load more of these on instead and they can be quite tasty and filling.
    Good job on the salad. Thanks for all the great cooking tips, and I would also pick that wine!
    Love, Dad

  2. The big ass salad looks damn tasty. I eat salads nearly everyday for lunch. Goodness.

    You talk to cats. I yell at my kids. We all got hang ups. 🙂

  3. I have to give you lots of credit for even cooking while your boy is away. Today is the first time I’ve cooked since being home alone – part of the reason was because I didn’t want to clean up afterwards and I realized I have no imagination when it comes to food preparation.

    You know it has gotten to the breaking point though when you decide vodka tonics probably have enough calories to constitute a meal… not that it has happened to me or anything =)

  4. How very Elaine Benes of you! These are good tips and a very cute post. I’ve found that a mix of cooked and raw makes an ordinary salad much more palatable. Even if it’s just reheated frozen veggies, it mixes things up and makes the salad go down easier (badump). I also like tortilla chips and salsa on salad. It’s just like eating them for an appetizer, but slapping them on a pile of greens makes you less of a glutton…right?

    • Tortilla chips + salsa + salad? How have I never thought of this! I am picturing a nachos salad now with chips, salsa, maybe some black beans and a lime vinaigrette….mmmm!

  5. That salad looks tasty!

    I could eat salad for every dinner but since I have carb & meat eaters in my house, it’s not possible. I not met a salad combination I did not like!

  6. Loving that salad!!! I generally do the “clean out the kitchen” type salads where I just root through the fridge and throw anything I find into the bowl. I love substituting hummus or fresh salsa for dressing.

  7. That’s so funny…when my boyfriend isn’t home for dinner I usually resort to the “big salad” too! It’s so easy and yummy!

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  9. Um, THANK YOU for posting the perfect salad equasion. I rarely make salads for myself because I never know what to put in them to make them as good as restaurant salads. I can totally remember “salty, meat, sweet, treat”… Thanks!

  10. D & I totally pick wine with funny names/cool labeling. 😀 We don’t drink the stuff so it’s just for looks. hehe

    Your big-ass salad looks & sounds AMAZING! Yeah, my hubster isn’t a big salad guy either. I should’ve totally taken advantage of a big-ass salad night. Damn.

    I love strawberries on my salads. Mmm.

  11. I like the big-ass salad! My fav add-ins are: feta, sriracha sauce, chickpeas, and dried cherries.

    Good job on the workout today!

    • Mmm, feta… 🙂

      You too! I could only watch your back pull slowly away from me. 🙂 That back stretch with the wind was brutal! I was just happy that I finished “with dignity” (I suppose – haha).

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  15. My gf thinks I’m crazy, but I like throwing cold cubed baked potato on my giant lunch salads.

    Double plus on the sriracha and chick peas as well.

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  19. I love this: “So while he is away on a work trip? I shall eat salad. And drink wine. While talking to my cats,” because that is so me when the boyfriend has class at night except I don’t have cats but there’s still talking. Ahhhahaha!

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