This past weekend, Dayv and I attended the wedding of our dear friends. It was a bit unconventional, as they married on the deck of a trendy bar and grill in a hip area of Philadelphia. There was a cocktail hour which was followed by a vegan's worst nightmare- a catered sit down dinner.
Although our friends discussed with the chef extensively about our special dietary restrictions, and were assured that the chef was "very familiar with vegan and gluten-free diets", he proved to be anything but. A waitress attempted to serve us several entrees, including spinach linguine and salmon with green beans(it was gluten-free, she said). We eventually ended up with a bowl of lettuce with olive oil and vinegar on the side. Luckily, I anticipated this problem and packed two cucumbers, walnuts, and an avocado, which promptly topped my salad.
These are the times, albeit rare, that I truly feel like I'm in the 3%. I honestly believe that vegans are quite possibly the easiest group of people to feed. Most of us(which includes my husband at this point), are perfectly content if you serve us a big bowl of various vegetables, a grain, bean/legume, or nut/seed, and served with oil and vinegar on the side. But, too often, those who are not accustomed to veganism, somehow believe a bowl of limp lettuce will do. I want to reach out to all of those chefs and offer a class- "How to make a proper salad for a vegan."
Although it's incredibly cliche, I love salad. It was what I made myself for dinner every night after I became vegan(seven years ago). After Dayv and I got married two years ago, I began cooking and trying new types of meals for dinner. Although I do love mixing it up, dinner salads are my comfort zone. It's a meal I know I will thoroughly enjoy and love every bite. And it's the dinner that my body loves and appreciates the most. I would venture to say I eat a salad similar to this, 99% of the time.
The beauty of this salad is that you really can put whatever you want in it, after you have the base prepared. If you want mangoes(my other favorite) instead of berries, do it. If you have broccoli instead of cauliflower, use it. I will say, though, that my must-haves to make a dinner salad are avocado and walnuts. They pair so perfectly together that every night I find myself "saving the best for last" and getting a couple spoonfuls of just avocado and walnuts.
Massaged Kale Dinner Salad
makes one very large salad
3 leaves of kale, rinsed and torn into small pieces, discarding the stem
1/8th of a lemon
generous sprinkling of sea salt
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup of baby spinach
1/4 of an avocado, diced
1/4 of an avocado, diced
3 strawberries, diced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1/2: slice of red onion, diced
3 slices of portabella mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced
1 cup zucchini, diced
2 pickle cucumbers, diced
1/5th of a head of cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup walnuts
*use whatever vegetables, fruits, and protein you have on hand.
In a large mixing bowl, squeeze lemon on kale and sprinkle with sea salt. Massage with your hands until kale shrinks dramatically and is a deep green. Add in lettuce, spinach, and avocado. Use your hands to massage the greens with the avocado until they are evenly coated. Add in additional ingredients, thoroughly mixing them throughout the prepared leaves. Enjoy!