September 21, 2010

The Ultimate Green Salad Formula {Naptime Simple Tips}

Apple Salad

Greens, Apples, Gorgonzola, Candied Walnuts

What’s Going on Today: Full fall mode! Making Apple Chips by the dozen, first fall walk where we actually collect leaves.

Naptime Goals: Make Eggplant & Prosciutto Lasagna (a fall favorite), bake Peppermint Patty Brownies.

Tonight’s Menu: Lasagana, Green Salad, Brownies.

Parenting Lesson of the Day: You can lead them to the salad bowl, but you can’t make ‘em eat it!

I love to cook during naptime and share what I make with you. During my website project I spent some time reviewing older posts, deleting a few recipes I hope you never make, and reminiscing while browsing through others. As I was reading my menus from last winter I noted that I always talk about pairing a lot of my meals with green salads. It’s true, I often serve salads on the side, I love the taste and health factor. Then I realized that never once have I actually given you a recipe for a green salad. Part of the reason for this, I suppose, is that I don’t make my salads during naptime. I toss them together right before dinner. But that doesn’t make them any less relevant to the family meal. So today I’m going to share my approach to salads. Almost everyone I know serves a salad once in a while, and here is how I do it.

When it comes to deciding on a salad, the menu usually dictates the type of greens I buy, which, in turn, dictate the add-in’s. For example, rich dishes like lasagna go well with fresh arugula or baby spinach. These greens pair well with pine nuts and Parmesan. A lighter main course, like lemon chicken, calls for a heavier side such as an iceberg wedge drizzled with blue cheese and bacon. In short, I use my salads to balance flavors.

The other day, as I was tossing together our salad I realized that I have a basic formula I work from nearly every time I make our nightly salads. It is nothing especially formal or exacting, but it creates a delicious salad single time. Of course, I make our salads for two these days. My daughter, ever the toddler, still refuses to let leafy greens pass her lips in their original form. If our salad calls for spinach or arugula I usually chop it up and wilt it into a sauce to pair with her pasta. Oh well, I am sure she will come along eventually. In the mean time, this is my formula and I’m sticking to it.

Recipe

The Ultimate Green Salad Formula

Ingredients

1 head lettuce (any kind you choose), washed, dried and chopped
1 c. nuts (I prefer pine nuts, almonds, plain walnuts, candied walnuts, pecans or candied pecans, pumpkin sees, sunflower seeds), lightly toasted
½ c. cheese (Gorgonzola, Maytag blue, Feta or Goat Cheese), crumbled
½ c. fruit (citrus quarters, dried cranberries, apple cubes, dried blueberries, dried cherries, pear slices)
3-4 T. olive oil based dressing of your choice

Instructions

Kitchen Tools Used: OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner, the best way to dry your greens and it’s even fun for the kids to use!

1. Toss all of these ingredients together in a salad bowl and serve.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

When tossing your salad, add in the dressing bit by bit until you achieve the desired consistency. This way you won’t overdress the greens and leave everything soggy. Never dress your lettuce until right before you want to eat it!

Naptime Stopwatch

Making a salad should take no more than 5 minutes!

Naptime Reviews

My husband and I love a good salad. This fall we’ve been especially partial to adding chopped apples and pears. Sometimes I also add homemade croutons for a special treat – but that is a recipe for another post!

  • FoodontheTable

    This is a wonderful rule of thumb for salads. I’m eating a lot of arugula, strawberries, and gorgonzola right now. Your new site looks wonderful!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much Amanda!

  • deer1

    Thanks for this recipe. What are some good ideas for homemade dressings? Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Hi! I love olive olive and lemon juice. Or, 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic and a small dollop of mustard all whisked together.

  • Mary Donkersloot, RD

    Kelsey – don’t worry, your child will eat salad when she’s ready. You have plenty of time! I’m a nutritionist with a 12 year old who now eats his vegetables before anything else on his plate and then asks for more. If everyone followed in your footsteps, there would be no problem with overweight kids in this country. Love your site, ambition and creativity. Congrats on your book. Look forward to meeting you in Portland.

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