Monday, September 1, 2014

Do You Carry?

Salads make great lunches, but they’re hard to carry with you to work or to school, even if you have a fridge when you get there. The salad dressing gets on the lettuce and other veggies and you can end up with a yucky slimy mess by the time you get around to eating lunch. It’s not so bad if you have a place where you can store things like an opened bottle of salad dressing, but many of us – especially students – don’t have that luxury. So what’s a body to do? Go without salads?

Nope. You just have to plan a little bit differently. I have two suggestions for you. First, change the way you pack and carry your traditional lettuce based salad, and two, switch to different ingredients that hold up better to sitting for hours with dressing on them.

The first isn’t so much a recipe as a concept. Most salads are built with lettuce on the bottom, then other veggies, meat, etc., and salad dressing on top. The salad dressing works its way down through the other veggies and meat and ends up dressing the lettuce on the bottom. Which is great, as long as you eat the salad right away. Not so great if you’re not eating the salad for a few hours, especially if you’re carrying the salad so it gets bounced around the dressing reaches the lettuce even faster. The solution? Basically, just put the dressing in the bottom of a jar, then the meat, then the wet veggies like tomatoes, then dry veggies, and the lettuce on top. The lettuce stays nice and crisp and dry until you turn the salad upside down on a plate or bowl, and then you have the lettuce on the bottom and the dressing on top, just like usual. As I said, it’s more of a concept than a recipe, but there are some ideas at SALAD IN A JAR. By the way, they say that the salads keep for several days, so you can make a week’s worth at the beginning of the week and just pull one out each day to take. Don’t know, haven’t tried it, but that’s what they say.

I have a few actual recipes for salads using sturdier veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and celery instead of lettuce, or you can make up your own using your favorite ingredients. One of the best things about salads is that they are so adaptable!

The one I make most often is CAULIFLOWER AND EGG SALAD. Pretty much what it says. Cauliflower and hard-boiled eggs in ranch dressing, with some sunflower seeds if you happen to have them.

A close second is PACKABLE PORK SALAD, which is leftover pork (any kind – pork roast, pork chops, pork neck bones, whatever – boned, of course), cauliflower and celery in a mustard-mayo dressing.

One that I keep forgetting about for some reason, is PACKABLE CHICKEN SALAD. Leftover chicken and celery in a slightly teriyaki-mayo dressing.

And finally, CAESAR-STYLE SALAD, with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots and peppers a Caesar-style dressing with parmesan cheese. It doesn’t have much protein, but you could add some chicken to it or have it as a side salad to some chicken or other protein that you carry with you.

Eat well!

---Mary Anne---

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