Not just any salad...
All right, so for anyone who grew up in the ‘90s, I’m sure you remember that Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian and then her dad Homer, brother Bart, and mother Marge all chant “You don’t win friends with salad” around her over and over again. Now I know what you are all thinking: it’s Foodie Friday and Lindsay is writing a blog post about salad, come on!
Well, it’s true. I am writing about salad. But let me put your mind at ease – it’s not just any salad. This salad is what I like to call my SOS salad and in my opinion, you can definitely win friends (and fill hungry tummies) with this!
The SOS salad can be used as a meal rather than just a side dish. How can you win friends with this salad? First and foremost, it’s really tasty. It’s also filling, quick to make, and last but not least, nutritionally balanced. I personally like to make a huge batch of this salad to have on hand for lunches or dinners so that I can spend more time biking, hiking, and visiting with loved ones.
We have all heard that vegetables and fruits are important. Why? They are full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre (both soluble and insoluble). A high intake of vegetables and fruits can help lower blood pressure as well as your risk of heart disease and stroke. They can also protect against some types of cancer. Of course, there are many barriers to accessing fresh vegetables and fruit including income, geographic location, affordability, availability, and perhaps a need for increased food skills with preparation. Luckily, fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables all offer health benefits, so if accessing fresh vegetables and fruit is difficult, there are other options.
Now for this awesome salad! I will provide a list of different ingredients but please feel free to omit, substitute, or add anything that you see fit. You can definitely be creative with this.
Lindsay’s SOS Salad
Ingredients: (choose whatever you’d like)
- 4 cups brown rice, cooked and cooled (you can use up leftover rice from the night before!)
- ½ head of red lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
- ½ cucumber, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ¼ medium red onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 medium beet, shredded
- ½ zucchini, diced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¾ cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans, almonds, use whatever you’d like)
- 1 avocado, diced (for topping)
- ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled (for topping)
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Black pepper, to taste
- Toast your nuts: Add chopped nuts to a small frying pan on medium heat and stir constantly until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Once they are done, remove from pan and set aside on a separate plate or bowl to cool.
- Add your cooked and cooled brown rice to a large bowl. Add your lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, zucchini, shredded carrots and beets, and chickpeas.
- Top with toasted nuts, avocado, and feta cheese. Toss!
- Prepare the dressing. Add all ingredients to a jar, cover, and shake vigorously until mixed.
- Divide salad into bowls or containers for your lunch, add dressing to your liking, and enjoy!