I have to admit, I don’t exactly love salad. I will eat it but don’t be fooled, I’m not a fan of lettuce. To me, it’s just an excuse so I can get to the good stuff: salad dressing (and croutons, cheese, fruit, and nuts). Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savory, and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day by David Bez is an entirely different way of looking at salad. For starters, Bez’s recipes don’t always contain lettuce (or any other green for that matter). And they look amazing, and filling, and are full of lots of different foods I don’t typically associate with salad.
Frustrated with the typical lunch options, David Bez set out to eat healthier and cheaper each day. He began creating a new salad every day at his work desk. That was over four years ago. Since then, he’s chronicled his salads on his blog, his instagram, and now in his book. I was interested in seeing how someone could take something as plain as salad and create so many meals with it. Salad Love is a beautiful cookbook, full of bright, colorful photos and easy-to-follow directions. Bez begins by breaking down his salad ingredients: The Base (greens, grains, or vegetables), Vegetables & Fruit, Protein (meat, nuts, cheese), Toppings, Fresh Herbs, and Dressings & Spices. The salad recipes are separated by season and the edges of the pages are color-coded (a nice touch). Each salad is labelled according to dietary preferences (omnivore, vegan, raw) and suggestions are also given to make a salad more suitable to your preference. The recipes themselves look amazing and cover a variety of flavors for each season: Summer (Strawberries, Melon, and Almonds; Shrimp, Baby Corn, and Sugar Snap Peas), Fall (Oak-Smoked Cheddar, Plums, and Raspberries; Coppa Ham, Pear, Blackberries, and Walnuts), Winter (Chorizo, Roasted Potatoes, and Red Onions; Roasted Chicken, Black Rice, and Orange), and Spring (Quinoa, Roasted Sweet Potato, and Cauliflower; Roasted Salmon, Cauliflower, and Artichokes).
Since a cookbook is only as good as its recipes, I decided to try one of the salads. Even though it’s technically winter (despite the warm weather outside), I started with a fall salad: Figs, Blackberries, and Hazelnuts. Bez labels the salad as Raw (fitting a raw-food diet) but adds a vegetarian alternative (adding goat cheese), which I used for my salad. Despite my best efforts to track down fresh figs, dried was the only option I could find so I substituted plums instead.
For the salad, assemble:
2 ounces mixed salad greens
Handful of blackberries
2 figs, cut into wedges (I used a plum instead)
Handful of hazelnuts, chopped
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Vegetarian alternative: Add cheese, such as salted ricotta, goat cheese, or young pecorino
For the dressing, mix:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
This was an easy salad to make and it was pretty filling and tasted great. I like salads with a lot of fresh fruit in them, so this was right up my alley. The hazelnuts added a nice crunch and I really liked the mint. I’ve never thought of adding mint to a salad before but it added a great flavor. I was also really happy I threw in the goat cheese- it added a great flavor and I liked the creaminess of it. I’m excited to try more of the recipes (especially the ones with mint in them).
Disclosure: I received a copy of this from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.