My whole life, both vegan and pre-vegan, salads have not been meals. They've always been something to pick at before a meal arrived. Or something to put on the side of pasta so I didn't feel bad about just how many noodles I was consuming. I've really and truly struggled, my whole entire life, to eat salad just for the sake of eating salad.
Worst vegan ever, I know.
In winter there is absolutely no chance, so I don't even bother. But now that spring is here, I'm trying to be mature about it and incoroprate some meal-size salad lunches. Because salads are, really and truly, the ideal lunch food. They come together quickly. They can be prepared pretty much entirely in advance so they are perfect for us Monday-to-Fridayers needing to pack lunches and then eat them at our desks. They feature vegetables that are raw and thus in their most nutritionally optimal form.
The recipe for this salad comes from Everyday Happy Herbivore and it's a really good "learn to eat salad" option for me because it's not just cold vegetables in a dressing. There's a grain! And I love grains so much. More than I probably should. I swear, I'd be okay sustaining myself on bowls of rice for years at a time. In fact, I believe I did that once. When I was eleven.
Rice is great, but nutritionally speaking, quinoa is better. More protein, more fiber, more folate, more calcium and more iron. So while I will never give up my beloved rice, I'm cool with letting quinoa play a round or two in its place. For this salad, I bought some multicoloured quinoa for some visual appeal.
I think one of the contributing factors to my dislike of salad is my dislike of lettuce. Sure, I like it on a veggie burger, in a wrap, or in my caesar salad (the only salad I never turn away), but anywhere else and you might start to lose me.
This salad is great because instead of lettuce or spinach (which is okay, I guess...definitely better than lettuce) the base is beautiful, peppery arugula! I've learned that arugula is also commonly referred to as "salad rocket" and this makes it even cooler than I thought it was. I love arugula slightly wilted in pasta, with nothing more than garlic, avocado, a little bit of lime juice and freshly ground black pepper.
But I'm supposed to be talking about salad right now. Not pasta. Typical Mary, swaying back to the dense carbs!
All joking aside, arugula is really great in salads. I feel like lettuce tastes like nothing, so when the bulk of a salad is made up of lettuce I find myself smothering it in whatever dressing I can get my hands on, adding too much excess oil and thus too much excess fat to the salad. Arugula has a peppery flavour all on its own, so you can go easy on the sauces.
There is no online version of the recipe, so you'll have to pick up Everyday Happy Herbivore. In the meantime check out some of the great HH recipes that are available online, at the Happy Herbivore blog!