Quit playin games, salad

If I wanted to eat a bowl of veins, I’d be a vampire. If I wanted to eat a bowl of lettuce veins, I’d get a salad at any major dining chain every day of my life. MYYYY goodness! How hard is this, people? Sometimes I just want a good salad and I’m at a loss. 90% veins. Although I must note: Panera, the dressing on your Fuji Apple Chicken Salad is DIVINE, and Cheesecake Factory your salads are pretty fantastic. Take that to the bank.

Awesome homemade salad preview

But stillll you can make a  salad better than ALMOST any other at home and feel healthy and creative and sophisticated all at once. You’ll be GLOWING, people will think you’re pregnant, in the BEST way!!

After METICULOUSLY inspecting every menu I’ve encountered in my literate years, I have it in my power to list for you the main salad templates that comprise 95% of restaurant salads in the continental US. You can use these as your own template. I linked to the type of greens they usually look like because they’re kind of hard to explain, and then you can know what to buy, too (I have no particular attachment to Fresh Express).

Mexican: Romaine mix, corn, black beans or ground beef, tortilla strips, avocado, tomato, cilantro/lime dressing
Caesar: Romaine, chicken, steak, shrimp or salmon; croutons, parmesan, caesar dressing
Asian: Medium colored mixed greens, mandarin oranges, crispy wonton/noodle strips, peanuts, cashews or almonds; scallions, sesame seeds, ginger or sesame dressing
Cobb: Romaine mix, bacon, hard boiled egg, cheddar or blue cheese, tomatoes, avocado, ranch
Greek: Romaine mix, olives, feta cheese, red peppers, red onion, pita bread, vinegar-based dressing
Garden with chicken: Romaine mix, carrots, cucumber, tomato, cheddar, red onion, grilled or crispy chicken, honey mustard
Fruit: Spinach mix, pear, apple and/or dried cranberries; blue or goat cheese; walnuts or pecans; sweet vinaigrette such as raspberry

Now, my favorite salad template is a sweet one with fruit CUZ I GOT DEM SWEET TEEF!!!! I made a variation of it recently and will share it with you now. It was yum.  What I had on hand was an apple, some walnuts, brie and spinach, so there you have it. I put the former three ingredients in the toaster oven for a few minutes to get things a little warm. Just because.

Secret weapon to combine sweet dressing and blue cheese. IT'S AMAZING. Trader Joe's.

As you can see, my favorite sweet teef salad dressing being completely empty, I had to make some of my own. For one serving of apple cider vinaigrette: a couple tablespoons each olive oil and apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon honey, a pinch salt, and a few grinds black pepper. Stir with a fork and stick the tip of your pinky in to taste. You should be able to tell if it’s too/not enough salty/peppery/sweet/vinegary.

I just love pepper flecks.

Choose the shiniest apple you can find.

And a big bowl of greens

Simultaneously softening up some brie and lightly toasting walnuts. Apples just along for the ride.

And I know what you’re thinking, “well, I don’t want to go out and buy 12 things, use them once and throw them away…” No! Use them over the span of a few months! Watch: nuts and blue cheese can be frozen. Use frozen or canned corn and canned beans. Chop and freeze red peppers and scallions then take them out little by little immediately before use. And fresh fruit comes in a single serving size!!! Plus, maybe all those other ingredients lying around in the freezer might inspire some other new venture some time.

And it’s just nice to have a pretty salad all laid out like that. That’s all. Do it to it.

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About Jen Cantin

Follow Jen Cantin on Twitter if you have nothing better to do! Wouldn’t want to impose… Two cats and three times more ‘tude than the leading car insurance provider.
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