superfood salad photo

Super-Easy, Super-Versatile Superfood Salad – THM (FP)

I’m the laziest chef. In fact, I wouldn’t even go so far as to call me a chef. I’m not even a cook. I taught my kids how to cook right about the time I started Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and haven’t really cooked since. They were 10, 13, and 15 at the time and after about a year of cooking dinners with me, I turned them loose. Each cooks twice per week with no supervision. As homeschoolers, we call it home-ec (or I guess family and consumer science as it is known these days). In fact, as I write this, my youngest, now 14, is whipping up some Fifteen-Minute Focaccia Bread from the Trim Healthy Table Cookbook to go with our dinner salad. But I came up with this salad a few weeks ago and wanted to share. It’s my kind of cooking–minimal ingredients, nothing special, and very versatile–not even actually a recipe.

Part of the beauty is that this salad can be used as either a side dish or as a meal itself. In the amounts shown, this recipe easily serves five as a meal and goes even further when used as a side dish. It is very filling. When using as a side dish, stick to adding things like additional veggies or berries with extras in garnish amounts. If wanting it as a meal, add a protein source like lean deli meat, steak, pre-cooked or canned chicken breast, or a hard-boiled egg or two and then pile on more veggies and extras. At our house, we mix up the salad with the base ingredients and whatever other veggies and garnishes we have on hand and let each person use the dressing of their choice. However, I’ve come up with some variations below that are excellent meals and make good dishes to take to pot-luck type gatherings. It also feeds at least 8 people as a side dish and 5 as a main dish, with enough for a couple meals of leftovers.

And just a little side note: When people say THM is too hard to understand, I tell them hogwash. If my 10-year-old could learn what ingredients make S, E, and FP so can you. I’m not saying that to make anyone feel bad but to encourage them. You can do it.

Okay, now back to business. The base recipe here consists of only three ingredients: cauliflower, kale or spinach, and cucumber. I know, it sounds boring and way too healthy to be considered good, but work with me here. The other thing we should get out of the way before starting is that I tend to cook with handfuls and piles poured into my palm rather than cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons. The written recipes include standard measures in case handfuls and piles make you break out in a rash but if you’re not much on measuring feel free to eyeball things.

chopped cauliflowerThese days, cauliflower is being used as a substitute for all kinds of things like mashed potatoes, rice, and pizza crust. You’ll notice that the things it is being subbed for are the filler items of meals. It functions the same way in this recipe; it’s filling. I use 2 bags of pre-cut cauliflower florets because, well, I’m lazy. Hey, I warned you. But, you can use a regular old head of cauliflower and cut it up yourself if you don’t mind the extra work. That way is more budget-friendly and allows you to use organic or homegrown cauli if those are important for you, but it takes away a bit of the super-easy aspect. You could also use 2 bags of frozen cauliflower florets and just let them sit in the fridge overnight to thaw if you’re so inclined. I take my cauli florets and chop them up to the size of about a quarter using a rocking method seen here. You could also throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. The size is a personal preference thing. They can be as big or as small as you want. I find that when they are smaller the salad mixes up better, but you do you on size.

chopped kaleNext comes the kale. If you’re not a big kale fan, you can use spinach. Sometimes I use a mix of both. It largely depends on what we have in the fridge and what is coming out of DH’s garden. If you’re not a big spinach fan either, use whatever salad greens float your boat. I grab 3-4 handfuls of kale, give it a good rinse, shake it off well, and maybe even pat it dry to prevent the salad from becoming watery. Throw it in a large bowl, grab a kitchen shear (scissor) or a clean regular scissors, and go to town chopping it up. Again, how small is a personal preference thing. Add the chopped cauli to the kale bowl.

Finally, the cucumber. I use English cucumbers because they are seedless and less watery than regular cucumbers but either is fine. If using a regular cuke, you will probably want to seed it. You can also use zucchini or again a mix of the two. As with the kale, at our house it sometimes happens that we have one and not the other or a small amount of each. (And yes, this is the way cooking goes when DH or I cook–whatever’s in the fridge ends up in the pot. The kids follow recipes.) Don’t peel it. The peel has lots of good vitamins and fiber and peeling just takes up time. Give it a good rinse and dry. Cut the cucumber in half from end to end. Take each half and cut it in thirds from end to end, then cut the strips into chunks (yes, it’s a technical term). Mix the cucumber in with the kale and cauliflower.  That’s it!

base salad mixture

Now comes the fun part, dressing it. If you’re THM you can dress the salad as either an S or FP. Remember, stuff from the FP list is also acceptable in an S setting but S items do not belong in FP. If you’re not THM that means nothing to you and that’s okay. You can pile on whatever strikes your fancy.

S Options FP Options
Low-sugar dressing of choice
(less than 2g carbs per serving)
Lemon Juice or Vinegar for dressing
(can add up to 1 teaspoon olive oil or
2 teaspoons MCT oil, if desired)
Cheese, any variety Onion
Olives Roasted Red Bell Pepper
Nuts (palmful per serving) Diced Bell Pepper
Steak Tomato
Hard-Boiled Egg Sugar Snap Peas
Mushrooms
Other Non-Starchy Veggies
Berries
(up to 1/2 cup blueberries per serving
or up to 1 cup of other berries)
Chicken Breast (pre-cooked or canned)
Lean Deli Meat
Tuna (packed in water)
Salmon

 

 

Super-Easy, Super-Versatile Superfood Salad Base Recipe – THM (FP)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. You can pat them dry to help ensure your salad doesn’t end up watery. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  You can serve the salad as is with your favorite dressing, try one of the variations or additions listed below, or create your own variation! Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

Superfood BLT Salad Variation

Superfood Italian Salad Variation

Superfood Greek Salad Variation

Nutrition Facts (based on side dish serving size of 1 cup, a meal serving size is more like 2 cups)

superfood salad base recipe nutriton label

Superfood BLT Salad photoThe BLT version of this salad was born out of me happening upon a BLT pasta salad at our local supermarket. It sounded so good but pasta isn’t very healthy, so I set out to see what I could do with my base recipe. In this application, I blanch or parboil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes to give it less of a crunch and more of a pasta texture. And, I know kale isn’t exactly lettuce but we’re going to call it close enough. If you really have to, I guess you could call this BKT Salad or B”L”T Salad.

Superfood BLT Salad – THM (S)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1-1/2 pounds thick-cut bacon
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and toss the cauli in. Boil for about 5 minutes so florets are firm-tender, similar to an al dente pasta. Drain, rinse with cold water and allow to drain further.

While cauliflower is boiling, cook bacon using your preferred method. In this application, I like to bake it on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Start checking on it after 15 minutes to avoid burning. You want it fairly crisp so it will crumble but not overdone so it doesn’t taste burnt. Set strips on paper towels to absorb grease and cool. When cool, crumble.

As bacon is cooking, prep the remaining vegetables as follows.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve the salad with your favorite creamy dressing. Our family particularly likes homemade Dill Pickle Ranch Dressing on it, but even a plain mayo-type dressing or bottled creamy dressing like ranch or blue cheese would be great. You can also use the salad wrapped in a low-carb tortilla with some dressing or mayo. Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

 

Italian Superfood Salad – THM (S)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1 cup small pitted black olives or sliced black olives
    • 1 cup cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. You can pat them dry to help ensure your salad doesn’t end up watery. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Dress this version with an Italian vinaigrette or creamy Italian dressing. Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

 

Greek Superfood Salad – THM (S)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
    • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. You can pat them dry to help ensure your salad doesn’t end up watery. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Dress this version with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing with 2g or fewer carbs per serving or even just a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

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