A minor miracle occurred at my house on Thursday night when my teenager went back for a third helping of salad. And not just any salad–a salad that contained radishes, which she “hates.” We were having the salad with two of her favorites dishes, mac and cheese and roasted asparagus, and it was no surprise that she helped herself to repeat servings of the pasta, but I had to stifle a little cheer when she loaded up on the salad lest I draw her attention to the fact that she was doing something I approved of. Making a big deal out of it would have just ensured that she never ate salad again. “Never make a fuss over something positive” is first thing you learn in Teenager 101.
During dinner, a second miracle occurred. We agreed on a name for The Kitten. We went through all the suggestions we received both here and on Facebook, and we finally found one that seemed right:
Loki is a trickster and a shape shifter in Norse mythology, and our little Loki can shift from being a purring lap kitten one minute to a destroyer of house plants the next. Thank you to Kimberton and others who suggested the name and to my daughter’s 9th grade English teacher for introducing her to Norse mythology.
Now, back to the Miracle Salad. It was really just a basic chopped salad, meaning all of the ingredients are chopped to about the same half-inch size. It doesn’t sound so miraculous, but each bite has multiple flavors and somehow the whole thing doesn’t need as much dressing as a regular salad. I used a touch of my own homemade mayo to give it a little creaminess along with a fat-free balsamic vinaigrette for flavor. I think the big reason daughter E loved it was the addition of kalamata olives; just a few pieces deliver a lot of flavor, so include them if you can.
Simple Chopped Salad
- 1 heart of romaine
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 3/4 cup diced radishes
- 3/4 cup diced yellow or red bell peppers
- 3/4 cup diced cucumber (about 1/2 large cucumber)
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives optional
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic-Raisin Vinaigrette (or other fat-free vinaigrette) or more or less to taste
- 1 tablespoon Tofu-Cashew Mayo (or other vegan mayo)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts optional
Leaving the base attached, cut the romaine heart lengthwise three times; rotate it a quarter of a turn and make two or three more cuts. Then slice it from top to the base so that you have small, bite-sized pieces. Wash it in a strainer or salad spinner and then spin well to dry.
Place the romaine into a large bowl and add other vegetables, chickpeas, and olives. Add the vinaigrette and mayo to taste, being careful not to add too much, as well as a generous grating of black pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.
If omitting olives, deduct 12 calories and 1.2g fat; if omitting walnuts, deduct 12 calories and 1.22g fat per serving.
Do you like chopped salads? What are your favorite ingredients? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.
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