- Shannon Crocker MSc RD
Keep it Simple: Salad Bar Supper
Fajitas. Tacos. Sandwiches. Salads. Do-it-yourself dinners are the best! They’re simple to make (everyone can help!), low key and everyone can create their own plate, just the way they like it. (Selective eaters rejoice!)
Don’t like broccoli? Add carrots.
Don’t like peppers? Add corn.
Don’t like cheese? Don’t add it. (This never happens in our house. NEVER)
Salad bar suppers are a staple in the summer at our house – especially after farmers market visits. We basically set it up the salad bar with all the salad-y stuff: greens, veggies, fruits, proteins, toppers and dressing. And then everyone loads up with whatever they love.
Anatomy of a DIY Salad Bar Supper
You can totally make it your own, add any and every veggie you love to your salad bar – the combos are endless! Here are some ideas to get your salad bar creativity juices flowing.
The Greens (one, two, or three -- you pick!)
Lettuce or leafy greens of your choice – romaine, spinach, baby kale
Microgreens – arugula, radish, pea shoots
Avocado, sliced, chopped or mashed with lime juice plus sea salt
Broccoli – small florets
Asparagus (in season) – grilled, roasted or even raw (slivers)
Green beans – raw
Peas – check out my post on why green peas rock!
All the Colours (so many to choose – here's just a few!)
Beats – roasted and cubed
Cabbage – shredded purple cabbage adds a pretty pop of colour
Carrots – grated or thinly sliced
Corn – toasted is the best! (frozen or fresh)
Cucumber – cut into rounds
Peppers – red, yellow, orange
Fabulous Fruits (for the sweet-on-salad lovers, one or two will do)
Dried fruit – cherries, raisins, cranberries
Apple – toss chopped apple with a little lemon just to prevent browning
Berries – blueberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries
Mango – firm but ripe, chunks
Watermelon -- in season, squirted with lime, it's the BEST
Protein Power (I offer at least two)
Turkey – I double up when cooking turkey so I have extras for salads and sandwiches
Eggs – hard-cooked (make extras, they keep in the fridge for a week!)
Tuna – light, canned, Italian, packed in oil, drained
Steak – freshly seared or sliced, cold leftovers
Tofu – crispy tofu is terrific on salads – even cold!
Chickpeas – drizzled with canola oil and lime juice plus a pinch of hot pepper flakes
Black beans – ditto
Cheese – small cubes of flavourful Canadian cheese
Go with the Grain (or don't. Not always on my salad bar)
Barley – one of my favs, I keep cooked barley in the fridge for salads and power bowls
Wheat berries – ditto
Quinoa – truth: my guys aren’t big lovers of this grain, so it doesn’t make an appearance all that often
Pasta – whole grain (but not always) for those in my family who don’t love the barley, wheat berries or quinoa
Tasty Toppers (for crunch and yum and at least one)
Nuts – chopped peanuts, sliced almonds, cashews
Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin
Coconut – shredded or pieces, unsweetened
Tortilla chips – a great use for those broken bits at the bottom of the bag
Popcorn – yes, popcorn! The kid in you will love it.
There’s a big time bonus to a well made salad bar: leftovers make a quick n’ easy lunch the next day. Prep once, eat twice! WINNER, winner salad bar dinner!
Don't forget the dressing!
A good dressing can take any salad from ho hum to FANTABULICIOUS! Good taste and simplicity rule in my kitchen. Enter my Garlick-y Lemon Vinaigrette and my Hint ‘o Honey Vinaigrette.
Equally delicious. Equally easy. Grab the recipes HERE.
Hope you love the salad bar supper as much as I do! Let me know your favourite salad bar combos below!