During the winter, I’m a Sunday meal planner. I spend the morning flipping through cookbooks and scrolling through recipes I saved on Instagram to plan out meals for the week (usually leaving Thursday open to use up random odds and ends), followed by a big grocery shopping trip.
CSA eating shakes that up a bit as I don’t pick up my share until Monday (I’m ahead of you all for recipe writing purposes), which leaves a night that I arrive home with a bounty of fresh produce and just a drive back to Worcester to make a dinner plan. It being a Monday and all, dinner shouldn’t be too taxing. Since I can almost always count on lettuce, and I like to use up the most delicate veg first, the BIG salad often comes into play.
Big Salads in my house are dinner salads, with a base of lettuce or mixed greens, topped with crunchy veg, herbs, some kind of protein (usually beans or fish, sometimes leftover chopped meat) and finished with a zippy dressing.
You can make a big salad out of anything! Just follow these rules:
- Have a mix of textures (below we have crunch lettuce and turnips, creamy beans, and meaty tuna)
- Season well (always chopped herbs, salt, and pepper)
- Make you dressing zippy (it should be a little too tart/sour/strong when you taste it straight, because all the other ingredients dilute it)
My full share this week was 2 heads of lettuce, salad turnips, chard, dill, basil, garlic scapes, kale, fresh onions, and carrots. If you’re not making the salad below, you could try this version with lentils and tzatziki. Early season root veg like radishes, turnips, and carrots are excellent in these turmeric noodles which barely require any cooking. I used up literally all the greens in my share by subbing them for the cabbage in this lo mein, along with the onion tops and garlic scapes (warning: if you make this you will be forever disappointed by take out lo mein). I’m very intrigued by the idea of potatoes on the grill which I want to try this weekend and finish with some fragrant dill.
Big Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing
Serves 3 as a main, or 6 as a side
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 small lemon)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 head lettuce, washed and chopped
- 3 salad turnips, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 can tuna (or chopped chicken, or omit)
- ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
- ¼ cup chopped dill
In a jar or bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Shake/whisk to combine.
Build your salad by layering lettuce, turnips, beans, tuna, olives, and dill. Finish with a grind of pepper, sprinkle of salt and your dressing.
(I didn’t have any feta when I made this, but it would be excellent on top.)