Every healthy eater eats it. It’s basically the only dish that everyone from vegans to low-carbers to raw foodies to the most neolithic Paleo can eat without anyone calling the nutritional police. I can understand why – it’s delicious, nutritious and the perfect canvas for any ingredient you can think to throw on top of greens. (Ha ha – you thought I was going to end that phrase with “and tastes like chicken!” didn’t you?) The problem for me is when it’s lunchtime, I’m starving and while salad sounds good I just don’t feel like chopping a ton of veggies and adding olives, beets, grapefruit wedges, cheese crumbles, toasted (by me, of course) pine nuts, onions and the weed that I pick out of the cracks in my neighbor’s driveway (purslane, seriously try some) and then topping it with a freshly emulsified dressing of extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, a dash of tabasco, unicorn blood and 11 herbs and spices. Why does such a simple food have to be so much work?
Simplify: When I was in Germany one of the best meals I ever had was started with a salad of chopped butter lettuce topped with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. That’s it. I ate so much of it our host mother was forced to go back out to their garden plot and pick another bunch just for me. (It also helped that I hadn’t seen a fruit or vegetable in like three weeks and was super constipated. Seriously Germany what is up with the produce hating? You have eleventy different kinds of sausage but an apple not in the form of strudel is verboten? It’s bad enough you have different flushing mechanisms on every single toilet – the chain over the door was by far the most befuddling – but now you have to back me up too?) These days I often make that “German salad” again and I’m never sorry. I love a good 70-ingredient salad as much as the next health nut but there’s nothing wrong with just plopping some lettuce on your plate. Especially when you eat as much salad as I do. (“Salad” bowl? More like mixing bowl!)