When anyone uses the word "salad" I think of a restaurant salad: iceberg lettuce, hard tomatoes, maybe cucumbers, maybe carrots, cheese, croutons, and very fattening dressing. Okay, the last is of my own choice because even though I really, with all my heart, want to be one of those "Oh my goodness, I NEVER eat anything but a little fresh lemon squeezed on my salads", I'm more of a Ranch, Thousand Island, French dressing, and lots of it, kind of girl. The first part of the salad is so anemic it's got little health value and the second, with its high fat and higher chemical load in the bottled versions makes the the whole idea of eating salad out at a regular restaurant much less good for you in reality than in theory. At home, I mostly keep it simple with fresh spinach or leaf lettuce and wilt it (see Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad) or try to make simple home-made vinaigrettes or creamier dressings. By using a better nutritionally quality of base greens and home-made, no chemical, dressings, the taste and nutrition values are amplified.
I confess that even with the home-made, sometimes I get bored with the greens/dressing formula and often go with this concept of small diced veggies of all kinds that marinate in a vinaigrette. It's extra crunchy, very brightly colored and pretty, and has a longer shelf life in the fridge so that I can nibble on it as snacks too. Actually, this is one of those great dishes that tastes better the second day after its had a chance to hang out in the fridge and make friends with its neighboring veggies for a while. I like its versatility of working as a stand alone pre-dinner salad, a side on our dinner plate, or as a great snack. It will also be great ON a bed of greens, and with this, no extra salad dressing would be needed.
Marinated Chopped Vegetable Salad
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
- 5 cups of small diced (1/2- 3/4 inch), assorted vegetables.:
- I used: broccoli, cauliflower, seeded tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, and a 15 oz can of rinsed kidney beans.
- 1/3 cup good Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Vinegar (can use apple cider, red wine, any variety of rice, balsamic, etc--each type of vinegar will give a slightly different taste to the salad, so use your favorite or play around with new tastes)
- 2 tsp honey, preferably local
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook's note: this is the very basics of a vinaigrette. Feel free to add herbs, a tsp of any variety of mustard, lemon or lime juice in place of the vinegar, your favorite seasoning salt in place of the regular S&P, or sugar, brown sugar, a sugar substitute or melted fruit preserves in place of the honey. The variations or limitless.
Chop vegetables and place in a bowl with a tight lid for storage. Mix rest of the ingredients together and whisk together. Pour of the vegetables and toss. Can serve immediately or store in fridge for up to 3 days. Occasionally shake container to move veggies around in the marinade.
Makes 5 cups
Nutritional information for 3/4 cup: Calories: 125; Protein: 3; Carbs: 12; Fat: 7; Fiber: 4; Weight Watchers Points: 3