Salad Days

Instant Salad

I’m going to admit that since moving to South Dakota, I haven’t been much of a salad eater.

I had a terrible shock when I realized the only salad one could obtain in eating establishments at the time was the standard pale iceberg (sometimes shredded!) gussied up with a few slivers of carrot and red cabbage. Maybe an anemic-looking wedge of tomato and a soggy slice of cuke. A package or two of club crackers on the side. The stuff that comes off the Sysco truck in a 5lb. bag. Don’t think I don’t know.

But in the last few years, things have drastically improved on the Eastern Great Plains salad front. Several local eateries, like the Coffee Shop Gallery, Leo’s Lounge, R-Pizza, and Raziel’s, have led the “greens revolution” in Vermillion.

Any restaurant that is still serving that little plastic bowl of iceberg should frankly be ashamed. Especially if they’re using their shredded “taco” lettuce. Please, throw that in your rabbit’s cage, but don’t serve it to your patrons. You might as well serve them a bowl of styrofoam pebbles in ag run-off for the nutritional value (and flavor!) they get out of it. So maybe don’t even give it to your rabbit, if you love your rabbit.

OK, I’m done with my rant. And no, I don’t have a pet rabbit.

Home salad prep is hardly ever something I’m willing to take the time to do. On a busy day, I burn a lot of calories, and a bowl of lettuce just doesn’t fill me up. Then there’s the fussiness of prepping all those other veggies to make my salad some sort of meal. By the time I could prep a reasonable salad, I’d have fallen to the floor in famished exhaustion, and eating it might not be enough of a jump start to bring me back.

So I am a fan of the instant salad–half a bag of salad mix already washed, chilled, and ready to be thrown from the spinner into a bowl, maybe a little sliced meat and cheese on top, and a quick grind of pepper and dash of dressing.

The premise behind the salad mix I grow and blend is that it has enough other additions right in the mix (the herbs and brassica greens and sometimes onion flowers), that it doesn’t beg for me to wash and slice a carrot, scrub some radishes, consider the eating quality of early summer celery, stoop to the supermarket tomato.

I can eat a whole spinner-full of salad mix for lunch and feel like I’ve eaten enough to keep me going until its time for an afternoon snack. Even if my nose gets a little twitchy and I start craving carrot juice.


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