If you’ve been reading for any length of time now you know I’m less of a veggie person and more of a carb and cheese lover. Meat, particularly, sausage, brisket, and a good burger, come in close behind the carbs. And let’s not forget chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate, aaaannnnd pretty much any form of baked good. Is there really anything more wonderful then a chocolate cake? (The correct answer here is no. If you said anything else you are officially a weirdo. Sorry.) If I’m being honest, which I clearly am, I would avoid 98% of vegetables entirely, because most of them really just don’t taste all that good, prepared most ways. (I’m pretty sure anyone who claims to love/crave vegetables is either lying, pregnant, or a weirdo. Sorry again.)
And yet, I’d like to live past 35. Hence, much as I’d like to shamelessly eat nothing but cake, mac and cheese, and sausage; I instead find myself frequently getting into an epic smack down with the vegetables. I try my darndest to channel my inner Jedi and
come up with recipes that really make the vegetables taste good beat those veggies into submission. The caveat of course being that they still have to be healthy.
Unfortunately, massive amounts of butter, which would be my first weapon of choice against Darth Broccoli and other cooked green things, kinda undermines the point of eating the vegetables in the first place. As does heaps and heaps of cheese. Or deep frying. Yes… DEEP FRY…. I know, I know, deep frying is out, and use butter and cheese in moderation, right? But, sometimes it just feels like vegetables are a too formidable foe; and you’ve got to really commit with the butter if your going to win the battle. Ya know what I’m saying?
And then theres salad. (Picture me saying that with a sneer, lip curled in disgust.) Cooked vegetables are bad enough. But salad. Ugh. Just ugh. To continue carrying this vegetables=evil intergalactic warriors metaphor on entirely too far: I find salad to be one of the trickiest opponents of the vegetable underworld. Or as my husband often says, “Salads are weeds. Why would I want to eat weeds?” I won’t admit it to him that I feel completely the same way because I am frequently trying to feed him the weeds for his health’s sake. But come on he’s got a point there.
- 98% of salads taste horrible. Tasteless limp lettuce. Mushy bland tomatoes. A few carrots or some other vegetable as an after thought. A dressing that is an attempt to hide the horror (and it never works). Bleck. No thank you and please pass the mac and cheese now.
- If 98% of salads suck then a mere 2% of salads actually taste good.
- At least 1/2 of the salads that actually taste good just so happen to be covered with a TON of tasty cheese, SWIMMING in dressing made out of tasty cheese/cream/other awesome dairy products, covered in meat, or SO MUCH BACON (Yes I know bacon is a meat but it deserves a special mention in this situation). Really, these salads just LIES, LIES, ALL LIES. Unfortunately, there is so much of that other tasty stuff on these salads, that they become salads in name alone. I’m of the opinion that there is no point in actually eating the lettuce in these “salads” because you aren’t going to undo the damage the other stuff has caused anyway. In fact it’s possible you should just have the burger, it might actually be healthier.
- Then there there is THE 1%. No the 1% are not wealthy wall street salads. The 1% are the salads that actually taste good, and won’t give you a heart attack. This salad is a rare beast. Pretty much endangered. I’m actually suspicious that there may be no more then 10 of these salads in the entire world.
So… basically, I love everything that isn’t healthy for me, and I don’t want to eat vegetables of most sorts, especially salad. But I have to. Which means I’m always pushing myself into testing new veggie recipes. Since it’s summer time the testing has been all about the salads.
Yes, most of the recipes I test do suck. And I try not to console myself with a heaping pile of brisket. But, from time to time I strike gold, or green maybe?
There are a few rare gems out there that I’ve stumbled on. Often, much to my delight they look nothing like the traditional salad. They are sneaky and subversive salads. Salads off the beaten path.
I’m not going to lie to you and say they make crave vegetables, or want to give up chocolate, but still, I can get next to these salads. I figured you too would also like to live past 35, so I thought I’d be helpful and share my best finds of late. Hope you enjoy.
Marinated Zucchini Feta Salad with Toasted Pistachio Breadcrumbs via How Sweet It Is- Jessica is my people. Like me she is not a veggie person. No seriously, I’m not the only one. I submit to you a direct quote from her FAQ page as proof, “Do you really hate vegetables? Yes. Yes, I really do. I’m not being ‘cute’ or pretending to not like vegetables. I really dislike them.” Since she and I are on the same wave length on important matters, when she posts a veggie recipe I pay attention. And actually make said recipe. The beauty of this recipe is that it has enough of the good stuff to save you from the vegetables (Bread Crumbs! Cheese!), but not so much that we’ve crossed over to unhealthy. Plus, in the summer aren’t people always giving you heaps of zucchini? A person can only make so much zucchini bread.
Black Rice Salad Bowls with Chipotle Orange Chicken, Cashews + Feta. via Half Baked Harvest- Chipotle, chipotle, chipotle. I’m kind of obsessed with chipotle. Bold and intense it gives you enough flavor to make whatever you put it on taste awesome. And it just so happens to pair surprisingly well with citrus. This one reads less salad and more taco, and yet is surprisingly good for you.
Green Beans with Almond Pesto via Smitten Kitchen- Yup, that’s a big ole’ pile of green beans right there. But they are smothered in… PESTO. I challenge you not to love anything smothered in pesto! Really, I challenge you!
10 Minute White Bean Artichoke Basil Toasts via Pinch of Yum- Yes despite the fact that this looks nothing like a salad this really does count We’ve got artichokes, spinach, and white beans going on here, that is salad material right there my friends. I’m not going to lie to you though, when I make this recipe I always add goat cheese too… which pretty much makes me feel like I’m eating spinach artichoke dip without the 10,000 calories. Score!
Homemade Fresh Summer Rolls with Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce via Sally’s Baking Addiction- Don’t be fooled by the intense level of vegetables we’ve got going on in this recipe. You know how when you were a kid you would eat pretty much any vegetable if it was dunked in ranch? This is the grownup version. Sally’s easy peanut dipping sauce is uber tasty and totally addictive. Those spring rolls all packed full of veggies? Well they actually taste pretty darn good when dunked in peanut wonderfulness.