When I visit California, I sometimes wonder if people are really meant to live anywhere else. We left Seattle in the driving rain and arrived in California’s summertime. My mom’s tomato plants are taller than me, and I picked a ripe tomato. The girls gorged themselves in the raspberry and blackberry patches. We spent all day in in the back yard.
When it was time for lunch, it seemed only sensible to chop up a small mountain of garden and farmers market produce to make a DIY chopped salad bar. My parents (who eat very healthfully) always have a fridge full of the best fruits and vegetables of the season. My uncle recently started eating an exclusively plant-based diet, so we made our salad bar vegan. Today’s offerings included shredded lettuce and diced cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, and broccoli. You could vary these in infinite combinations, of course. We put out drained kidney beans, ground flaxseeds, nutritional yeast and walnuts for protein, and raisins for a bit of chew and sweetness.
I love this approach because it lets everyone customize a salad to their own taste. I bet my mom took all the veggies plus flax and nutritional yeast (and maybe a splash of vinegar); I left off the carrots, went heavy on the broccoli, and topped my bowl with walnuts, raisins, and balsamic vinaigrette.
My uncle took this photo of his salad to share with you all in exchange for some tips about embarking on a vegan lifestyle. What’s your best advice for him?Vegan Chopped Salad Bar: Shred or chop a sturdy lettuce like Romaine or one of its cousins. Chop raw vegetables of your choice into uniform dice: the sky’s the limit, really, just think about choosing flavors and textures that work together. Add drained cooked or canned beans, nuts, seeds and/or nutritional yeast for protein. Consider including a few fresh or dried fruits for sweetness and variety. We used J’s balsamic vinaigrette (usually 2/3 olive oil, 1/3 balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of dijon mustard, salt and pepper–but today we didn’t have dijon and that was fine too).
Put everything in its own bowl and let everyone assemble their own salads. Eat in the sunshine.
Yummy! I love beans and nuts with salad! My advice for your uncle would be to think “laterally” and not try to “replace” meat or cheese with some vegan alternative. Very brave of him to try it…. :-) (We are only vegetarians cutting down on dairy.)
The sun is shining again in Wales today, it has been keeping well hidden for over two weeks now. Hopefully our garden will begin to spring up a la California (that’s one big hope). Great looking Salad Emmy. Happiness, lee and janex
One word for your uncle: VEGANOMICON. Excellent cookbook by Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who have a slew of other cookbooks and a great website (http://www.theppk.com/) for vegans and vegan sympathizers.
I hear you on the Seattle weather. I’m in Portland and we still feel like the middle of March or April around here… jealous of your California trip!
Brilliant salad fixins Emmy. As for recommendations for your uncle, I’m reading the cancer survivors guide right now.
It’s a book I really wish I had when I first went vegan. It gives you all the health benefits of going vegan, recommendations for making the switch and recipes. Super helpful for a newbie (regardless of health) It’s a perfect starter.
Another good one is the Engine 2 diet. I think it specifically speaks to men ;)
Best of luck to him!
Vegan salad bar is a great idea!
Your salad bar looks great—even if vegan!
The California sun is enticing, no doubt. A dear friend just moved to San Diego and I could not be more excited to go visit!!
I love chopped salads and the idea of a chopped salad salad bar is pretty great.
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