As a long-time vegan, I am completely burnt out on salad, especially salad that I have to make myself. It feels like a cruel joke. All that washing and sorting and chopping, with such a disappointing outcome!
And, most vegans are familiar with the feeling of being stuck with nothing but a salad at some nightmare omnivore restaurant that we’ve been dragged to, because our society tells our omnivorous friends or colleagues that it’s worse for them to have to eat vegan food than it is for us to gag down a plate full of iceberg lettuce. Thus, perpetuating the dual myths that 1. Vegans love salad and 2. Vegans eat only salad.
But leafy greens and raw vegetables are so darn good for us that it would be foolish to exclude them from our diets. So I have become a bit of an expert at tricking myself into eating them as painlessly as possible.
Here are some of my top tips.
- Salad Smoothie
Kale – calorie for calorie – is pretty much the healthiest food out there. It’s pretty offensive eaten raw though- kind of soapy and bitter, with a fibrous texture that gets stuck in your teeth. My solution? Stick in in my smoothie and blend the hell out of it. The other fruits mask the kale-y-ness, and it’s just win-win all-around. You can also use romaine or spinach, or a combination of several types! Pro tip: I also throw in Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts to be a real superstar.
2. Salad Pizza
Pizza is pretty much amazing, right? One of my favourite tricks is to shred up fistfuls of spinach, and put it right on top of the sauce before putting on my other toppings. So basically you are eating salad on a pizza. My friend Josée doesn’t even try to hide the salad, as you can see in this shot from Fiazza Fresh Fired:
4. Make salad soup
My friend Natasha Kyssa wrote a cookbook called The Simply Raw Kitchen, and in it she offers several recipes for blender soup, which essentially amount to eating salad in soup form. The blender I use even warms it up a bit, giving it a much nicer mouth feel, plus there isn’t all the jaw-breaking chomping required; it’s smooth as silk. My favourite soup’s ingredients are romaine, avocado, red pepper, red onion, tomato, and various herbs and seasonings. Sounds pretty much like salad, no?
4. Wrap salad in bread
Wraps and sandwiches are a great way to hide salad. My husband makes what are essentially salad wraps, sweetening the deal with Nelakee vegan chicken and a liberal dose of hummus. One of my favourite restaurants has sandwiches that are almost entirely salad, but the bread itself is so amazing, and the tiny sliver of almond butter battered tofu so magnificently tasty, that I barely notice that I just ate a fistful of sprouts and greens. Added bonus: No utensils, and no need to bring along a separate (usually leaky) container of salad dressing to take away your pain.
5. Eat salad to earn something really awesome
Another trick I like to play on myself is to make something very decadent so that I feel like I have no choice but to eat a salad to make up for it. For example, the other night I made this vegan mac and cheez with a coconut bacon topping. I try to eat at least a few servings of vegetables at dinner, and the mac and cheez had none, which left me with no choice but to accompany it with a salad. Pro tip: Don’t eat all the mac and cheez first, leaving all the salad, or you will be very sad for the last 3/4 of your meal.
Maybe you love salad, and if so, congratulations! But for those of you who don’t – and who may not even have admitted it to yourselves yet – I hope that this provides some helpful salad hacks.
How do you trick yourself into eating salad?