Salad Saturdays - our version of Meat-Free Mondays
Salad Saturdays for a healthier diet
You've heard of Meatless Monday - well, Salad Saturday is our own version.
We don't eat meat or fish at all but oh boy, we do like food and we love to eat! We love pasta dishes. We're very fond of pies too and we love our regular Friday night pizzas.
I try to make our meals as healthy as possible but deciding to have a Salad Saturday every week was a good move to keep us on track in our healthy eating goal.
Salads are probably the easiest meals to make too. All I have to do is grab the ingredients from the fridge, arrange them on plates and I'm done. Quick and easy are essential for me. As you can see, often it's the simplest of ingredients too. The salad you see on the right was simplicity itself - baby salad leaves, sliced tomato, chopped pear, scallion, sliced black olives, a few slices of cheese and a little good-quality wholewheat bread. I don't use dressing on Salad Saturdays, the flavors of the onion and olives add a special tang, as does a little lemon juice squeezed over all the ingredients.
Photographs © BritFlorida.
Yummy yes, but maybe a bit boring?
Not really boring, no, because we have different salads every week.
Does that make us seem very virtuous? Wow, a healthy salad with just a little cheese and a little bread? Well, we do tend to have a special dessert after our Saturday Salads as you can see here. (Himself is over six feet tall, over two hundred pounds and walks for miles every morning so he does need some calories - that's my excuse!)
I look in the fridge to see what fruit we have in stock. Then I slice or chop it and layer it in glasses. It's different every week depending what we have so it's always a treat. If my mint plant is behaving (which it wasn't when I took this photograph) it's nice to add some chopped mint leaves for even more flavor. You can see here that we have strawberry, apple, banana and plums.
They are very tasty indeed layered like that in their natural juices. I can't resist though - I drizzle a little honey on top for an extra treat.
I usually make this before I make the main course salad. That way, the juices from the fruit have a chance to mingle and the honey drips down all over the slices. Mmm mmm mmm!
Wow. If you're like me and determined to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet this book can help you a lot and you'll never be stuck for great ideas about what to make for dinner. The title is a little misleading actually because I counted a hundred and eighty recipes in this book - enough to keep you going for a long, long time, especially when you keep returning to old favorites. A few of my non-vegetarian friends have bought this book too as it had plenty of ideas for healthy and delicious meals.
A salad a day
No matter what we're having, we like to have salad with every meal, even if it's just a small side salad. Now that we have Saturday sorted out, let's see what we can have for the remaining days of the week. Here are some of our favorites.
We love this because the cherries have a slightly tart flavor which makes them ideal for salad.
I always pit them first and depending on the size of the cherries, I might half them - or even quarter them if we've managed to get one of those humongous varieties - into bite sized pieces.
The cherries are then simply laid onto a bed of fresh baby green salad leaves and a spring onion / scallion is added as a garnish and to add even more flavor.
We buy fruit in season - often from the local farmers' market if we can - and find that this salad needs no dressing because of the lovely juiciness of the cherries. This salad is especially good with one of our favorite quick and easy meals which featured tomato soup and delicious quickly-prepared cheese sticks.
Pear and lemon
When a salad is served with a dish that has a lot of sauce, or a dish that needs to be served on warm plates, then I always use side plates. This keeps and sauce and the heat from affecting the salad.
With something like a flaky-pastry pie shell, filled with delicious vegetables, there's no need to keep the salad separate and it can be served alongside the main dish.This pear and lemon version is a good example and it can be made in seconds.
Just like the cherry combination above, the pears are sliced and added to a bed of fresh leaves. We find that lemon goes particularly well with pear. Because I often serve this with pies or pizzas, I don't want to add dressing to increase the calorie count so the lemon juice just adds that extra zing.
Carrot and chive
Neither of are particularly fond of carrots when they are cooked - unless they are in a very delicious casserole or similar dish with lots of flavors - but we love raw carrot, especially as a side dish.
I find that carrots, particularly younger ones, have a sweetness that is enhanced by using orange. Carrots served simply sliced with an equal amount of sliced orange is lovely but I prefer to grate them to really bring out their full flavor and juices.
Carrots can easily be shredded on your regular cheese grater. To make this particular version, I grate them into a bowl and add a little juice from a bottle of sour orange juice - sold as naranja agria - this is particularly delicious. I mix this in, you only need a little, and then top the carrots with snipped chives or the thin green shoots from scallions / spring onions. It goes particularly well with roasted vegetables with ricotta.
Apple, tomato and lemon
Again, this is simplicity itself. We like the combination of the slightly soft tomatoes which contrast so well with the crunch of an apple.
To make this for the two of us, as a side, I only need to use one small apple and a medium tomato to make a delicious addition to the main meal.
The tomato is sliced and the apple chopped.The lemon fulfills two purposes. Firstly it's a great substitute for oily dressings - which we like to avoid most of the time. But it also prevents the apple from browning. When apples are sliced, once the exposed edges meet the air, they can quickly discolor. By slicing the apple and tossing it in lemon juice, this can be avoided and a lot of lovely zingy flavor is added. Sometimes I add a few sunflower seeds or pine nuts too. This is delicious served with my mushroom parcels.
Simple tomato and fresh basil
This is such a simple combination yet has a wonderfully Italian flavor.
This means that it's gorgeous when served with pasta or any other Italian dish. I don't made this is the main part of the meal features tomatoes though but otherwise it is more or less my default salad choice.The tomatoes are simply sliced and put on a plate.
I usually make this a few minutes before I make the main dish because I then grind a lot of black pepper all over the slices which really brings out the flavor and adds to the Mediterranean touch. I sprinkle the chopped basil leaves just before serving - so they they will remain full of flavor. We have this with so many different meals and we love it with cheese and mango pies.
It's rare for us to vary our lunches but they're different every day. I know that sounds as though I'm contradicting myself but every day one of us goes to the fridge when lunchtime approached and rummages around and puts delicious raw ingredients onto a platter for our lunch.
There's always cheese, always bread (or crackers or toast) and always raw vegetables and delicious fruits. So it's different every day.It's so very easy and quick too. Often, we go and eat outside which makes a nice break in the middle of the day.
It never takes more than a few minutes to get lunch ready and we usually include items from the various jars we have in the refrigerator - black olives, chutneys, pickles, mustard, honey ... whatever takes our fancy at the time. Yum.
Is a raw food diet right for you? That's what I'm asking myself at the moment. I'm starting to believe that if I lived on my own I would probably enjoy a raw food diet because of the ease of preparation - there's no way that I'd make pizzas and pies for myself. I'm not going to start with a full-on raw food diet but thanks to the success of our Salad Saturdays, I'm gradually introducing more raw food meals. I feel that we are slowly edging that way naturally. These splendid books will help.
When you're adding more raw foods to your diet, I find that you need all the help you can get. You can see from the cover of this book that it has some marvellous ideas. All quick and easy, too.
Even more ideas
Even more great ideas! With books like this so readily available there's really no excuse for not including even a salad a a day.There's no chance of salads being seen as uninteresting with this book in the kitchen.
More about meat-free dining
- Ten Tips For Meat Free Eating
If you're considering adopting a meat-free diet, or simply cutting out meat occasionally, these top ten tips will help you. You don't have to be vegetarian to want to eat more healthily and cheaply.
- 'Vegetarian' or 'a vegetarian'?
I admit to being pedantic but I do object to being called 'a vegetarian' rather than simply 'vegetarian'. What do you think?
- Why Paul McCartney is vegetarian
Paul McCartney is probably as well-known today for his vegetarian beliefs than he is for his music - arguably. How and why did he stop eating meat? The fallacy is that he was forced into it. Untrue.