Our Favorite (Stupid Simple) Salad
Our go-to salad is a combination of the vegetables we love best and the ones that cost the least amount of money. Get our formula below!
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Recently, someone mentioned that I don’t have a lot of vegetable recipes on my site.
The truth is, while I have experimented with all kinds of vegetable recipes, we keep our meals in this season fairly simple – borderline boring for anyone who isn’t our family and has our tastes. Right now, we like it this way. It’s what works for us and helps us save money and eat healthy.
This means we eat a lot of veggies, but we generally stick to something cooked in a breakfast saute, green smoothies, raw or steamed veggies, and a daily salad. Nearly every day, we – including the 4 year-old – pile our plates with some variation of this salad.
The recipe below is our go-to most of the year. In the fall and spring, we like to eat this one.
When I’m serving people who don’t normally like salad, I make this one.
These days, at least once a day, we eat salad. As my kids grew older, I started serving the fixings buffet-style. They top and dress their salads as desired. For us, this method makes it more fun and crowd-pleasing.
Allergies & Special Diets
Because we eat this salad nearly every day, I usually prepare all the veggies, chicken, and dressing on our simple meal-prep day. Then throughout the week, we simply lay out the fixings and let everyone make their own meal.
Salads & Younger Kids
None of my kids really ate salads until they were at least four years old. We’ve had some stubborn selective eaters, but our philosophy is that we serve whatever we serve for meals, and our kids are welcome to eat as much or as little as they like. We encourage everyone to try lots of new food, but we don’t sweat it.
When they are old enough to understand – usually around 4 years old – we have a rule. They don’t get seconds on anything else for dinner – the pasta, chicken, bread, whatever – until their salad is gone. If they are hungry enough for more bread, they are hungry enough to finish lettuce.
That being said, I know what healthy foods my kids like and dislike, and I generally stick to ones that we all enjoy.
Our go-to salad is made from those items. It’s a combination of what we all love the best and what usually costs the least amount of money.
Our Stupid Simple Salad Formula
- Lettuce (we like romaine, but we eat what’s on sale)
- Carrots (I use a julienne peeler on them – easy to store, easy to eat, and everyone loves it!)
- Blended Greek Salad Dressing
- Shredded Cheese or Avocado
- Any other veggies on sale or in season (sometimes this means broccoli, sometimes tomatoes and cucumbers. Sometimes it’s nothing else)
- Protein (we serve it on the side or on top of the salad. We use chicken, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, or simply leftovers)
- Some of us love croutons, and I can’t blame them. We usually serve those as an option.
In order to save money, we focus our plates on veggies and healthy carbs. The protein is usually a salad topping.
This salad combines some classic favorites, budget-friendly veggies, and an inexpensive but delicious dressing to make our go-to side dish (and sometimes main course!).
- 2 hearts romaine lettuce (or 1 full head)
- 1 carrot
- 8 grape tomatoes, to taste (or 1/2 medium-size tomato)
- 3 ounces cheddar cheese, to taste (or 1/2-1 avocado, diced)
- 1/2-1 cup Blended Greek Dressing, to taste (see notes)
- 2 cups leftover chicken
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 1 cup croutons
- assorted seasonal or on-sale veggies (cucumbers, broccoli, etc.)
Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces, shred or julienne the carrot, and halve the grape tomatoes. Shred the cheese. Dice the avocado, if using.
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. If you think you will have leftovers, omit the dressing and cheese/avocado and serve them separately.
- We prefer julienned carrots – they are easy to make, store, and fun to eat!
- This Blended Greek Dressing is our favorite because it’s delicious, inexpensive, easy to make, full of clean ingredients, dairy-free, vegan, and Whole30-approved!
- To make it a main dish, we usually use leftover Make Ahead Chicken, hard boiled eggs, or another leftover protein.
- Normally, we round out the meal with Simple Mediterranean Yellow Rice, Deeply-Flavorful Baked Sweet Potatoes, or Crispy Baked Home Fries.
What You Can Do Now:
What is your go-to salad? How do you make it budget-friendly and crowd-pleasing? Answer the question in the comments!
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