So…an everyday salad. Sounds silly to post a recipe for any old salad since you can throw any vegetable in it and make a decent salad. But this one…it never fails, it’s simple, you don’t have to go to a specialty store to make it and it’s budget friendly! It’s a sort of copycat recipe from an old restaurant called Little Roma- a couple of Croatian brothers ran it and made this salad either as an entree or starter salad. I have been in the mood for it lately, and since the restaurant shut down a couple of years ago (they’re running a Greek place now) – I decided just to make it for myself, and it’s every bit as good as I remember it. They used iceberg mixed with whatever greens they had, but I just use the lettuce picked from my Dad’s garden along with the farmer’s market specials. However, this salad is great because it’s easy to find these ingredients in winter as well! When I’m not making this salad, I usually get carried away having fun throwing all kinds of different veggies, fruits and nuts into my salad…sometimes sprinkling gomasio with seaweed on it as well.
I snack all day long, I basically never stop eating. I decided with having to be in a swimsuit coming up, that I could stand to lose a couple of pounds. Literally, just a couple, and after not even a week of replacing one snack a day with this simple salad (I’m not sick of it yet!) and not eating a half a bag of Vic’s Popcorn (light/half salt) at night hanging out with my husband watching something on TV…I’ve already accomplished it! Oh, and I do not measure it and make a pretty darn big bowl. If I buy an average organic mix in the plastic container at the grocery store, I probably use about a half to third of it. In the picture above, much of the vegetables fell to the bottom after mixing. Some people would call this salad a meal, but unless there’s lots of protein and something else on the side, this could only satisfy me for a snack. It is a big salad though so it may fill you up. I think Elaine would classify it as a big salad as well.
- lettuce, mixed greens, baby greens
- tomatoes, I prefer around 4-6 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- seedless cucumber, a couple of inches worth, chopped up
- yellow or vidalia onion, finely minced (about a half of a ring slice, or a half of a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon)
- sliced black olives, I buy jumbo ones and slice them myself, about 5
- green pepper, finely chopped – about 1-2 teaspoons, I just use the size of 1 or 2 fajita sized pieces
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan, romano or little feta bits
- Chop up all of your veggies
- Put that lettuce in a bowl, add the veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar
- freshly grate some cheese on top – or sprinkle the feta
- mix, enjoy!
I don’t see any point in measuring out my olive oil or counting calories. I did it after college for awhile and it didn’t do me any good. Plus, for a semester of college I studied in Valencia, Spain. They probably fed me about a half a cup of olive oil daily…or more! It was wonderful and I actually lost weight there practically drinking the stuff and not trying in the least! Well, now that I think about it, I also lived with an 85 year old lady we called, “abuela” and she tried to feed me mystery meat one too many times so I always requested vegetables, sardines and tortilla Espanola. She called me, “la de las verduras.” Had I lived with a different family, I still think the same would hold true because for the most part, processed foods weren’t popular at the time. Their frozen vegetable mixes are much better over there by the way. In Spain, they just ate good food and didn’t worry about calories or diet products. Well…I take that back, I did meet a few young women who existed on Coca Cola and cigarettes, but for the most part, just live and eat and have fun! You also learn that same lesson traveling to Italy. Okay, sorry, I’m diverging much too much.
Back to the salad: my mom prefers it with garlic salt. My son likes to sit on my lap and pierce everything with a fork and feed it to me. This takes forever so I try to make this as a snack after he naps, but he does have fun and every so often eats a lettuce or spinach leaf while he’s at it. If he can have fun with my salad and get a little taste here and there, even better! I’d also like to mention the raw onion in there. I typically only like cooked onions, especially caramelized onions. The crunch and strong flavor of raw onion and the aftertaste and breath are not appealing to me, but by mincing just a little bit of onion in there, the crunch and flavor blitz doesn’t happen and the flavor is nicely distributed throughout. If it weren’t for those Croatian boys, I’d never have put raw onions in my salad.