I received a question today from a reader, which came in the form of a comment to an earlier blog post:
Hi! It’s Jeannie. What is the salad you make every few days with peppers?? Can you share it?
I love a good salad. I enjoy not-as-good salads as well, if I’m being honest. And what I think Jeannie is referring to is my habit of making myself a big ol’ salad for lunch a couple times a week. I shared photos in this blog before – here’s one:
Here’s another (in the top right):
And here’s one I had last week (in the bottom center):
Jeannie, you asked your question on a good day, because guess what I had earlier today for lunch? A salad! I saw your comment just before I ate it, so I quick snapped a photo first on my blackberry:
And now, to answer your question, here’s my favorite salad recipe, so grab a pen or get ready to hit the print button:
I don’t have one. Sorry to lead you on.
The salads all look pretty much the same, and they all have bell pepper of some color, but really, they all differ and they’re all kitchen sink salads – by which I mean I toss in whatever veggies I have on hand – and often, whatever veggies I want to use up. Today, it was romaine lettuce, yellow bell pepper, 2 scallions, 3 radishes, about 2 tsp capers, a few roasted red pepper pieces, and instead of dressing I threw in a couple tablespoons of salsa (from a jar) and the juice of 1 lime. Sometimes I have other types of lettuce on hand (I buy pre-washed spinach, arugula, or mixed greens at the farmers’ market nearly every weekend), and if I have cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, or shredded cabbage from one of those prepared cole-slaw mix bags (which I often buy because they’re cheap), then I’ll toss those in too. I have about 4 different bottles of various lite or fat-free dressings (my favorite right now is Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard), but right now I have a few limes, so I decided to go that route today.
Despite the whatever-I-have-on-hand nature of my salads, I do keep a couple other things in stock in my pantry to spice up the salads. I try to keep a couple cans of beans around at all times (the salad in the first photo had canned garbanzo beans in it, but I also like black and great northern beans as well), as well as a can or jar of pickled beets. Right now I have a can of sliced olives on the shelf that I bought for salad purposes, and in my fridge is a jar of Trader Joe’s roasted red peppers that I’m working my way through and used today. Oh – I keep soy bacon bits around to add texture and flavor (they add less than 30 calories and 1 gram of fat per tablespoon).
Lastly, I’ve been tossing a couple teaspoons of capers on every salad I’ve made for the past couple months. I love capers, which is a good thing, because I have the largest jar of capers you’ll ever see:
That’s 1 quart of capers. It’s practically the size of a bottle of wine (which I added to the photo for comparison’s sake). It was a gift from my friend and old roommate Ani, who got it from her father, who is a baker and apparently has some sort of underground caper connection, because he ended up buying a case of capers (something like 20 or 24 quart jars) at a ridiculously low price. I never did ask what became of the other jars, although I’ve always been curious.
Ani gave me the jar probably about 4 years ago, and it took me that long (of only occasional caper consumption) to get through half the quart (I presume since brine is salt-based, and salt is the best preservative on earth, that they’re still safe to eat). But now I’m adding capers to salads a couple times a week, and I’m ready to finish off that jar, and not buy capers again for a long long time. I suspect I still may have a couple months of caper-filled salads ahead of me, but since they’re so good, that won’t be a problem.
I wish, Jeannie, that I had a better answer to your question (or an actual recipe or a link or something), but that’s the skinny on my salads… are you gonna start making salads now, or changing up your salads somehow? Keep it up, Jeannie! And…
Keep it up, David!