Formula for Dinner Salads

Cook’s Notes: I devised this formula based on several books and countless articles. The possibilities are endless, and you build a salad that’s a complete, well-balanced meal. Amounts given are per person.

  1. Start with 2 cups chopped lettuce. Recommended: organic spring lettuce mix, blending lettuce and coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrot), or romaine lettuce with baby spinach. Avoid iceberg lettuce; you want good color here.
  2. Add 3 oz lean protein (chicken, shrimp, tuna, or turkey) or use 2 oz protein and 1 oz shredded cheese. You can also serve the protein on the side, if you don’t want to mix it with the greens.
  3. Add 1/3 cups canned beans (rinsed), peas, or hummus.
  4. Add 2 or more vegetable choices (about 1/2 cup each). Aim for a minimum of 3/4 cup vegetables. You can also add 1/3 cup mandarin oranges or 1/2 cup berries or diced fruit, if it goes with your other ingredients.
  5. Add extras: 2 T toasted nuts or seeds, 1 T grated Parmesan, 7 to 10 black olives, or 1.5 T raisins or dried cranberries.
  6. Add salad dressing to tastes (up to 2 T).

You can also add a cracker serving, such as 2 Wasa rye-crisp breads, to round out the meal. If you didn’t add fruit to your salad, have 1 fruit serving for dessert.

Tossed Salad with Black Beans

Here’s an example from a recent meal salad that made 4 servings. I would have added 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper or tomatoes, but we did not have them. This meal was both light and satisfying. We were too full to add crackers.

2 cups organic spring mix lettuce
2 cups baby spinach
2/3 cups canned black beans, rinsed
1 c shredded carrots
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
4 T toasted chopped walnuts

Dressing: Curry Vinaigrette
Serve with 3 oz roasted rotisserie chicken per person.
Dessert: 1/2 cup fresh blueberries per person.