Sunday, April 22, 2012
I just don't like salad that much, and the idea of eating a big bowl of spinach for dinner seemed like punishment. Don't get me wrong, I love vegetables, and most of my meals feature several vegetables prominently. I have followed the new USDA guidelines, which recommend that half your plate is fruits and veggies, for years. And yet salads always escaped me.
Then a couple years ago I had lunch at a local southern California chain called Chicken Dijon and my dinner landscape totally changed. Their "Veggie Special" is a hybrid salad-entree with rotisserie chicken, crunchy cucumber, fresh tomato, steamed veggies, green onions, and rice, all tossed in a caesar dressing. For some reason, it's the rice that makes this a full meal for me and makes this salad a dinner I can eat every day. It was a revelation--salads don't have to be a big bowl of boring mixed greens with vinaigrette.
Ever since then I've been making what I call "Super Salad" on a regular basis, at least twice a week. The ingredients change, but I always include about a half a cup of brown rice, orzo or another small pasta. The rice gives me that little bit of carbs that I need to feel like I've eaten a real meal. Whenever I tell people about Super Salad (which is more often than you might think, given the large portion of my day devoted to talking about food), I give them a list of my usual ingredients, and then I say, "This is the key---add a little brown rice." They always look at me and say, "Rice? I never thought of that." Yep, you'll actually start looking forward to salads like I do now.