For the 4th of July we invited a couple families to join us for dinner and early fireworks. It was thrown together quickly, literally the day of, and yet came together great. We had everyone bring their own meat, we grilled our veggie burgers, and we all shared sides and/or desserts.
The night was a lot of fun and everyone loved this salad. Some had hoped I’d make a tasty healthy-for-you salad to represent the veggie lovers.
One of our guests was asking how often we eat vegetarian at home. “All the time,” I answered, “and actually, we eat mostly vegan.” This is often followed by a “what?!” that I’ve come to expect and love. Then, “Isn’t it hard?”
So for those of you wondering the same thing, it isn’t. But it is an adjustment to make when you are first switching over from non-vegan eating. I mean, sharp white cheddar cheese, especially the Dubliner brand from Costco…wow. I don’t know if there’s a better cheese. But although cheese is pretty amazing, it’s also not amazing for you, so not eating it has been okay. The overall health goals and the way we feel when we eat this way far out-weigh a slice of cheese.
And as with most things, there are couple exceptions that we make: 1% milk for the kids on cereal, occasional unsalted butter, and occasional eggs (maybe a dozen /month) added to something where flax eggs won’t work. I love not having gross raw chicken plates lying around.
Okay, let’s get to this salad. Eat it and feel good, it has a small amount of sweetness to it and needs NO dressing.
Easy salad that doesn't need any dressing. It's a perfect mix of sweetness from the candied walnuts to the meaty chickpeas. Welcome to your summer picnic salad!
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- Mixed greens
- Romaine, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cucumber, quartered and diced
- 1/4 cup craisins
- 1/8 cup red onion, diced
- Salt and pepper
- In a small saucepan, mix your walnuts and sugar on medium high. Keep a close eye on it as you'll need to stir it often. It needs to cook until the white sugar turns brown and sticky. Once you've reached that point, make sure all the walnuts get some sugar on them, then remove from stove, and pour walnuts on a piece of tinfoil to cool. (This can work with other nuts as well, walnuts/pecans work well because they have grooves for the sugar to hold on to).
- In a large bowl, mix all your greens, top with tomatoes, celery, chickpeas, cucumber, craisins, red onions, cooled candied walnuts, and salt and pepper. Toss the salad together gently, trying not to let all the toppings go beneath the greens.