When most people think of salads, the image that comes to mind is iceberg lettuce, colored with a few carrot shreds and maybe topped with a slice of tomato, then drizzled with their favorite dressing. Salads are usually considered to be a combination of cold, raw leafy greens, often with some vegetable pieces added. I’d like to challenge you to think of salad as being a much more diverse, some are truly raw greens of various colors, flavors, and textures, while others might be comprised of fruit, raw vegetable chunks or shreds, and even pastas and cooked vegetables. Warm salads offer an even greater array of flavors to be incorporated into your meals.
Thinking beyond the tiny iceberg lettuce salad so often served as a means to stave off your hunger as restaurants prepare your main course, why not consider a festive salad bar as a precursor or even as the main course at your dinner table. Ours often contains over a dozen toppings, in addition to a mixture of many lettuces and greens. Romaine, leaf lettuces, butter lettuces, are blended with spinach, baby greens, and whatever other leafy greens we have available. Along with this large bowl of greens, we have smaller containers containing our family favorites: sliced beets, garbanzo beans, crunchy sprouts, thinly sliced onions, grape tomatoes, avocados, artichoke hearts, bean sprouts, black olives, green olives, walnuts, sliced celery, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peas,and often pineapple chunks, and shredded apple. We keep our toppings in small containers with covers so that they are easily stored in the refrigerator and easily brought out for meal each evening. Dressings are kept in a similar manner.
Our first entry is for a warm salad, that can be served cold, if you wish. I’ll be adding many others– join our mailing list and check back often for new ideas!
1 Medium eggplant (about 1.5 pounds) cubed, salted and drained (**see below)
1 pound firm tofu, cubed
2 red peppers, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
Brush vegetables with oil and vinegar. Grill on medium high heat until eggplant is tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Toss with any remaining vinegar and oil and serve warm.
** after cutting, salt pieces and place in colander for about 30 minutes to remove bitterness
Prefer a cold side salad? Grill the eggplant, tofu, onions, and peppers (or roast, if you prefer)
Mix the oil and vinegar together, blending well.
Add all ingredients into a bowl and blend with the oil and vinegar.
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight for best flavor blend.