Last year I vowed to change the way I eat. 20 pounds had crept up on me and I knew a lot of that came from lazy eating habits. Instead of picking a specific diet I simply decided to eat clean instead. I do not obsessively count calories, I hate feeling hungry so I never ever skip meals, but I do watch pretty carefully what I eat each day and for me the main rule is the food has to be as close to natural as possible. I won’t give up chocolate and red wine but both clean eating and consistent exercise has given me more energy and I’ve stuck with it for a year, dropped the weight, and I’m feeling better than ever.
With my clean eating manifesto comes a lot of salads. A LOT. And like with exercise you can totally plateau and become extremely bored. Lettuce, let’s face it, you’re drab.
When it comes to salads it’s all about the toppings but I was even growing bored with my go-to favorites, so last week I switched things up with a kitchen gadget that’s helping me love salads again.
I’ve been to a few restaurants and even Subway that offer a chopped salad and I wanted to be able to do it myself at home so I ordered this bowl and chopper combo. I’m hooked!
I love a basic cobb. Butter lettuce, BACON, blue cheese, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado AMEN, and cooked turkey or chicken.
This tool is cool, you layer the bigger tougher ingredients on top of the lettuce and chop away.
Next, add the more delicate or softer ingredients.
Drizzle your dressing (blue cheese or ranch) and toss.
A classic chopped cobb salad, hello lunch.
So instead of stabbing the salad with your fork it’s more like scooping and that small difference makes the salad taste better in my opinion. More little morsels in each bite. (That plate is vintage Tar-jay, seen here in 2011).
This may be obvious for many of you but do you know the easiest way to peel an avocado? I swear I didn’t know this until a year ago when my brother Nate the amazing cook showed me because he felt sorry for me watching me do it wrong. It was a light bulb moment and also embarrassing since I’ve lived in California all my life where avocados are like condiments, they’re served with practically everything. #spoiledinsunnyCA
Anyway it’s simple, cut the avocado in half, remove the pit by stabbing with bottom of knife blade in a quick motion (or carefully spooning out). Place each half upside down on a cutting board, slice it down the middle, then peel back the skin. Slice thinly and serve.
The Southwest BBQ Ranch salad is another version I love to make, sooo tasty. Combine romaine lettuce, black olives, cilantro, shredded cheese, chicken, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and ½ ranch and ½ BBQ sauce for dressing. Sometimes I add black beans too.
Or go Greek with this medley: butter lettuce, crumbled feta, croutons, kalamata olives, heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, cooked chicken, and cucumber.
Add a squeeze of lemon, a dash of oregano, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and EVOO.
This is a tangy salad because of the feta cheese, kalamata olives, and vinaigrette. You could skip the chicken and serve this alongside lamp chops, wow that would be really yummy.
I’m going to keep mixing it up to keep things interesting: roasted beets and heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese. Apple and cranberry and walnut and blue cheese, etc. What about you? Any kitchen gadgets or salad recipes you’re loving lately?