Make mine a meal!

The sad sad salad. Oftentimes it’s made a mockery of and not taken very seriously. Like, when you are a vegan and go to Red Lobster to be social, order the salad, and get croutons and iceburg… But it is an explosion of possibilities hiding behind some unassuming green leafys! We lived on salads for months and we experimented with veggies, dressings and fixins’. Whether you’re vegan, paleo, gluten-free or whatever, you can always have a salad that suits your taste. Summer is coming with markets and fresh produce galore! Here are plenty of ideas:

  • Green/Red leaf lettuce: Hard boiled eggs, raw milk blue cheese, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, onion, tomato, cold peas and balsamic/oil dressing
  • Spinach: Sliced strawberries, red onion (soaked in balsamic for 5-10 mins), parmesan (optional) and balsamic/oil dressing
  • Romaine: Walnut taco “meat” (recipe below), thawed or fresh organic corn, bell peppers, black beans, onion, carrot and salsa for dressing or cilantro lime jalapeno dressing

What about:

  • Mushrooms
  • Shallots (tiny onion-like and delicious!)
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Red/Orange/Green/Yellow peppers
  • Hemp seed
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pinenuts
  • Mung bean and/or alfalfa sprouts
  • Apples
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Shrimp, salmon, chicken
  • Arugula, kale, dandelion greens, etc.
  • Cranberries, raisins or currants
  • Fresh dill, cilantro, basil, etc.
  • This could be a long post! More ideas here

Sure it may seem like a cop-out blog, but there aren’t many meals out there that make me feel amazing, healthy and satisfied after, like a salad does. No croutons or meat necessary! You can get protein from hemp seed and eggs. I can say from experience that no, Marie Callender’s blue cheese vinaigrette, will not help if you are trying to lose weight. Fat hides in a beautiful salad dressing bottle like you wouldn’t believe! And usually not the good healthy kind, more like the hydrogenated/xanthan gum/sugar-riddled kind. Honestly it’s more economical, healthy and diverse to make your own dressings. If you have a blender or food processor (even a bottle to mix vinegar and oil) you can make your own dressing. It’s more time consuming to try to read the labels at the store than it is to throw together some shallots, vinegar, oil and mustard. THAT recipe doesn’t even need a blender!

Walnut Taco “Meat”

  • 1 cup walnuts (or 1/2 walnuts, 1/2 other nut) soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T coriander
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 tsp good salt
  • 1 tsp aminos or gluten-free soy sauce/nama shoyu
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • Additional add ins: sundried tomatoes in oil, cilantro, salsa


  1. Process nuts, then mix with rest. Add more oil or a little water if needed and adjust seasonings to taste. The texture shouldn’t be walnut butter smooth, but semi soft and chunky so that it looks like ground taco meat. Give yourself a delicious scoop and wait for all the “oohs” and “aahs”. This has been ‘man-tested’ and given a stamp of approval.

Now, for my 3 FAVORITE salad dressing recipes!

Spicy Asian Dressing

  • 1/4 c liquid aminos
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 4 T water
  • 2 T sugar (sugar-free? maybe try a bit of agave)
  • 3 T sesame oil
  • 3 tsp chili paste

-Put in a bottle and shake! Adjust chili paste for more spice!

French Vinaigrette

  • 1/8 tsp good salt
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 dijon
  • 3-4 T olive oil

-Soak shallots in vinegar for 10 minutes, then add ingredients and adjust to taste. I LOVE lots of mustard and usually end up making this recipe just using the ingredients and never measuring.

Japanese Ginger (aka Crack) Dressing

  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos
  • juice of 1 lemon (save for zesting if desired for this recipe)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 T fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 tsp dijon
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 T raw tahini (great for nut allergies, since this is a sesame product)

-Whisk, blend, process, whatever the ingredients above. Adjust flavor as desired. I love the ginger!!


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About Sarah Hiller

Eco-maniacal! I love learning about food and health, and then sharing! I'm also an aspiring photographer, lover of kale, dogs, yoga, anything fitness, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and heavy metal. It is my goal to empower and support people through nutrition and attitude. I have an Etsy store you can check out as well

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