A few weeks ago, two of us Oldways staffers found ourselves in the kitchen at the same time, assembling a salad for lunch. We decided to combine our powers and share what we’d brought in that day: arugula, bok choy, cabbage, dill, lettuce, spinach, an avocado, a cucumber, a few olives, some roasted peppers. We devoured our greens fix and found ourselves talking about what we could bring in the next day.  Another co-salad happened. And another. And now we find ourselves looking forward to this mid-day meal in a whole new way. We’re both committed to getting as many greens and veggies into our diet as we can, and partnering in the production of our meal is easy and fun. Having someone to talk with about the possibilities of a salad inspires us to experiment.  We’re trying different dressings, toppings, and of course there is no end to the fresh herbs and vegetables, raw or roasted, that can add character.  (The roasted Japanese sweet potato yesterday was indescribably delicious.)  Beans and whole grains are making their way in, too. No two salads are ever the same and best of all, we sail through our busy afternoons feeling nourished and satisfied. Ready to join us? Put a large dinner plate on the counter and start creating.  Here’s a quick guide to how we build our creations:

Salad Alchemy
1. Start with a base of greens.  While the many different kinds of lettuce are lovely, push yourself to also include bok choy, arugula, spinach, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard and, if

you’re hard core, collards. Sprouts, too.  Slice the heartier greens into a thin chiffonade – narrow ribbons – until you’re ready for bigger pieces and bolder tastes.

2. Add the weightier foods. Layer on sliced or chopped cucumbers, beets, radishes, peppers, carrots, celery, or avocado. Cut in different sizes and shapes on different days to discover ways to dramatically change the look and character of your salad.  You can even add any roasted vegetables, too.

3. Slip in a few leftovers. Add a spoonful of cooked whole grains or leftovers from last night’s dinner.

4. Garnish and decorate. No reason not to make this beautiful. Your eyes, your stomach, and your brain will appreciate a few flourishes and of course, everything contributes to the flavor and nutritional oomph.  Add fresh chopped dill, mint, basil, parsley, tarragon or any other fresh herbs, olives, nuts, seeds, sliced cherry tomatoes. (We sometimes put the cherry tomatoes around the edges of the plate, like numerals on a clock.)

5. Drizzle on a little dressing. Emphasis on little. Use about ¼ of what you think you need. 6. Finish with pepper if you wish. (We’re about to try grinding on other spices.) You probably won’t need any salt. And, of course, enjoy!

-Georgia & Sarah (aka, The Salad Sisters)

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