Now that summer is upon us, the amount of local fresh fruit and vegetables is incredibly abundant. We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for us, yet it often happens that veggies bought with the greatest of intentions usually go forgotten and untouched in the crisper drawer.

When hunger strikes, what if instead of hypothetically reaching for handfuls of dates and spoonfuls of peanut butter, there was a giant bowl of delicious salad waiting to be devoured in the fridge. (Confession: That’s not hypothetical. Dates & peanut butter are my go-to snacks – eaten often and with flagrant disregard for blood sugar levels and calorie amounts).

Weekly Salad Challenge

I recently saw on Kate’s blog her proposal for a challenge of sorts to eat more veggies.

I have a challenge for you (and me) today. I challenge us all to start making a giant fresh salad on Sundays, so we can eat salad all week long.

This Weekly Salad Challenge is simple. Take advantage of all the in-season vegetables and fruits, invest a bit of prep time at the beginning of the week, and enjoy a satisfying and satiating salad all week long. These will not be boring salads, folks. Oh no siree. We’re going to go big and bold with all sorts of different veggies, proteins, and dressings. I’m going to break this challenge into three different posts. Today’s will focus on the base of the salad: the vegetables! I’ll then highlight some different proteins you can add to the salad to make it more hearty. Finally I’ll showcase some delicious dressings and sauces to take your salads over the top!

Weekly Salad Challenge | A Taste of Trace

Salad Base – #allthevegetables

The key to making a not-boring salad is variety. It might be a little more time consuming, but the different textures and tastes will ensure your salad is anything but yawn-worthy. I usually split the vegetables in my giant salad bowls into 3 parts: greens, chopped veggies, shredded veggies.

Greens

My main go-to greens are kale, spinach, romaine, and herbs. Other good green options are chard, collard greens, arugula, and butter lettuce. And whatever you do, don’t forget the herbs! I’ve been loving cilantro in my salads, but basil, dill, parsley, and mint are also good options. In addition to adding tremendous flavour, herbs are also chock full of vitamins and nutrients like their more-celebrated lettuce cousins.

Weekly Salad Challenge - Greens | A Taste of Trace

Balcony Garden Update | A Taste of Trace

I’m the type of person that hates giant pieces of lettuce in my salads which makes all the good bits fall to the bottom of the bowl. I like to chop everything pretty finely so that each bite is different and delicious!

Chopped Veggies

Again, I go for bite-sized pieces of vegetables here. I like to use peppers and cucumbers to add crunch to the salad. Broccoli and cauliflower are also good options. If you love tomatoes in salads, I’d advise adding them to serve, rather than in the big pre-made salad. Cherry tomatoes would probably be fine if left whole, but cut or diced tomatoes are watery and could turn your salad into a soggy mess.

Shredded Veggies

There are some vegetables I choose to shred or grate rather than chop because I find them easier to eat that way. Beets are one of the hardest raw vegetables and are mostly eaten cooked rather than raw. But when shredded, they become perfectly manageable and add a deep earthy yet sweet flavour to salads. Same goes for raw carrots.

Weekly Salad Challenge - Greens | A Taste of Trace

Another good shredded vegetable is red cabbage. Not only does it add a beautiful colour (much like the beets), but it also packs a huge nutritional punch. Red cabbage is full of antioxidants and is a cruciferous vegetable which are known to have anticancer properties. Finally, I love adding shredded zucchini to salads. Though zucchinis are softer vegetables, when grated they add a light and almost creamy component to the salad.

Reiterating what I mentioned earlier, the key to an enjoyable salad in this Weekly Salad Challenge is variety. By using a wide range of flavours and textures, you’re ensuring that your salad will not only be super tasty, but containing a huge amount of beneficial nutrients as well. Additionally, this weekly salad challenge is a wonderful way to use up veggies from your local CSA Box!

CSA Box | Week 7

That wraps up post 1 of 3 in this Weekly Salad Challenge Series. Stay tuned for how to add hearty plant-powered proteins to your salads!!