My pal Emily is has got a lot of talents. She is a poet, a crafter of all trades, and she’s got one heck of a green thumb. She is also a marvel in the kitchen and someone I can always rely on to join me in taking a class in cupcake making or canning and then spend hours in the kitchen with me laughing and making delicious treats. I mentioned her a while back when we made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam together, she’s an excellent partner in crime. In honor of Salad Month, Emily was kind enough to allow me to re-post her delicious looking Full Belly Salad filled with some of her favorite food memories. This recipe was originally shared on her blog, Plaid Platypus.
The other day, as I was walking home with a hefty haul of groceries on a hot afternoon, I worked up a mean craving. And not just any craving. What I wanted more than anything else in the world was to go home and sit down in front of a giant salad. As the remaining blocks between my destination and me dwindled, I imagined this super salad coming together. It was a list of ingredients conjured from my happiest salad memories. Hungry and nostalgic, I tumbled through the door with my bags of produce and feverishly threw together the following. I call it the Full Belly Salad.
Notes on (some of) the Ingredients
Beets: As a kid, my favorite snack was sliced beets right out of the can. Something about their slippery texture, rich hue and earthy flavor, really appealed to me, and still does—though now I’ve wisely moved from canned and nutrient sapped to fresh and organic.
Cherry Tomatoes: These did not make it into my salad. Admittedly, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to tomatoes. I blame my father. For years he has produced an impressive crop which yields the sweetest and juiciest of fruits. He passed the torch, or tomato vine, to me when I got my own backyard to dig around in and, while my tomatoes don’t come close to the succulent output he gets every summer, I have learned to wait until the height of tomato season before buying tomatoes, if I buy them at all. There is nothing better than a tomato that was minutes before on the vine, its thin skin still sun-warmed, the smell of its leaves on your fingers. And in terms of flavor, it’s a million times better than anything found in a store.
Beans: In college I befriended a vegan. I was vegetarian at the time and had plenty of options in the liberal Oregon town of Eugene. But when my friend led me on a tour of vegan grub I was amazed at what offerings existed in the least likely of places. One such place was Taylor’s, a bar and grill far south of Eugene’s nutty, granola center. The Big Salad, at around $6 was more than a meal, featuring the equivalent of a whole head of lettuce topped with fresh vegetables and beans, and slathered in the housemade vegan cucumber dressing. I hadn’t thought about adding beans to green salads, but for vegans the hearty legumes provide important protein, so now I pile them on.
Corn: When I traveled to Spain to embark on a career as an English teacher, I attended an intensive TEFL training program. Getting out of bed and navigating though a foreign country to a classroom where you were asked to step out of your comfort zone and in front of the blackboard, all the while being tested on an embarrassingly spotty knowledge of grammar, was more than a little daunting. I had also come to a rather meat-centric country expecting to remain vegan (I succumbed to the queso but not the jamon.) At lunch during the exhaustive first week I stumbled into the park for a series of deep breaths. One of the students from a neighboring classroom was sitting on a bench and very intently tossing a salad, with corn. Curious, and covetous of her salad, I drew nearer. She was an Australian, and adding corn to salads was just one of the culinary surprises she would introduce me to. We bonded over the canned corn and are best buds to this day.
- salad greens
- sliced beets
- cherry tomatoes
- kidney or garbanzo beans
- canned corn
- sliced cucumbers
- grated carrot
- On a dinner plate, lay down a bed of your favorite greens, and top with above ingredients.
- Dress generously with Goddess or your favorite creamy dressing.
- Make a happy memory by savoring this main course salad on a hot day.