I didn’t not like them, but the idea of green salads was never especially appealing to me. Yes, I always ate them, mostly because I knew they were healthy.  Chopping the veggies was always so time consuming and they just fell to the bottom of the serving bowl anyway, making it hard to get a good combination in a personal serving of green salad.  But, like I said, I know green salads are healthy.

Years ago I discovered a new favorite restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes. (I have since moved several times and don’t live by one anymore.) I loved the huge salad bar with so many yummy options, but mostly I love the lesson I learned there: salad bars are wonderful!  Each salad comes out with every topping, and toppings don’t sink to the bottom of the serving bowl.

I decided this was worth a try at home, and it is definitely a keeper for my family.  I started by asking, “Who wants a spinach salad?” At first it was just my husband and me that ate them, and the kids got sliced fresh veggies on their plates. Soon the kids started feeling deprived of the yummy toppings that they could only have on a bed of salad greens. Now they are starting to ask for salads, too. Next, I get a bowl for each person; no more salads separating in the serving dish.  I fill the bowls with fresh greens and then add whatever toppings we have on hand. I keep toppings handy in separate containers so they are easy to get out and put away.  I make the same salad for everyone (unless someone will die if a tomato touches their food), and they get to try new things every now and again.

salad-bargreen-salad

We use whatever toppings we have on hand at the time and don’t worry too much if the salad is a bit skimpy sometimes. Our salads look a lot different in the winter than they do when we are enjoying produce from our garden. Here is a list of some of our favorite toppings:

spinach, spring mix, or other fresh greens
raw sunflower seeds
sliced almonds
ground flax seed
Craisins/ dried cranberries
rinsed cottage cheese
Swiss cheese
feta cheese
crumbled bacon
toasted and cooked quinoa
sprouts (alfalfa, wheat, etc.)
mini croutons
tomatoes
home dried tomatoes
sweet peppers
cucumbers
carrots
diced strawberries
diced apples
mandarin oranges
whatever we can think of
(and most nights we do add some variety of dressing)

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