Let’s get right to the point…the tip? Sorry. Setting all horrible puns aside, this week, I’m dying to talk to you about mixing up your salad game (but when am I not dying to talk to you about salad, really?) so let’s jump right in.
Now that chillier temps are here and summer’s delicate lettuces have left the local markets, I’m thinking a lot about how I can still work salad into my repertoire through the next 8 months-or-so. Of course, in most grocery stores, you can find your bibb, butter, and romaine lettuces year-round, but the arrival of autumn and its leaves of a heartier variety also affords us the opportunity to think a little bit outside of the lettuce box. So, today’s tip is to get creative with your salad bases! Once you open your mind…most things can be lettuce. Not botanically, of course, but…you catch my drift. And to prove my point:
Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of the less than traditional veggies and lettuces I like to lean into during the cooler months.
Broccoli, especially the tender insides of the stalk work so well for slaws. The crowns work too, just be sure to chop them quite small so they’re not too tough!
Don’t forget that green and red cabbage make amazing non-mayo-based salads too. Treat them like kale and give them a massage in your dressing-of-choice, then top with whatever other salad mix-ins your heart desires.
Napa cabbage is much lighter in texture than its green and red counterparts and is one of my absolute favorite leaves for salad! Don’t sleep on this one.
Celery makes for a super yummy, crunchy salad base. I had a pal DM me to say she tried the celery salad in In Harmony: Spring and was really pleasantly surprised by it!
Radicchio is very fun—it’s truly gorgeous to look at and its bitter leaves stand up well to nearly any dressing. Because of its bite, I like to lean sweet with my dressing and mix ins for salads made with this leaf.
A salad made with thinly sliced endive gives me major fancy lady tea party vibes that I’m never mad about!
And of course, brussels sprouts shaved thinly work so, so well for salad!
So here’s the recipe for one of my very favorite ways to enjoy brussels as salad so you can get creative with your greens game as well:
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pecorino Romano
1 lb brussels sprouts
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like spice)
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
½ cup whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1.5 oz pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
Using a knife, remove the woody stem from each brussel sprout and halve lengthwise. Use a very sharp knife, or a mandolin if you have one, to slice the brussels sprouts into ⅛ inch thick ribbons. Add the brussels sprouts shavings to a lar
ge bowl. (You can also just buy a bag of pre-sliced sprouts at many grocery stores.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, and salt.
Drizzle the dressing over the brussels sprouts and use your hands to lightly massage it into the leaves. Season with additional salt and vinegar as necessary and toss in the almonds. For serving, grate the pecorino romano over top the salad.
Meal Prep Storage
Store the salad already dressed in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. When ready to consume, top with cheese and almonds. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This recipe was excerpted from my e-book, In Harmony: Autumn. It’s the first in my four-part series of seasonally focused and meal-prep-appropriate recipe e-books. You can grab the entire bundle of four at a steeply discounted rate here. Or not! I have lots and lots of free recipes for you too :) Okay, that about covers it!
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,