With this unbelievable and sometimes, unbearable, heat, I have been working to up my salad game.
We’ve all heard the vegan jokes about munching on lettuce nonstop to fuel our malnourished bodies, but the truth is that if I’d known how amazing I could make salads in my pre-vegan days, my life might be very different today. Thank goodness, I didn’t figure it out until now.
This is what my friends think I eat.
But this is what my salad actually looks like.
See the difference?
I don’t want to toss shade anyone’s way, but the thing I disliked most about salad back in the day, was iceberg lettuce with a few slices of cucumber and a couple wedges of cucumber, usually drenched in Ranch dressing. That is NOT a salad. That’s just a way to make you feel good about eating your weight in unhealthy salad toppings.
But I’ve learned a few things over the years and with this heat that’s been tearing through Europe, I am upping my salad game like…whoa.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to salad, at least as far as I’m concerned. If you want to cook up a small sweet potato and steam some broccoli to add to your salad, go right ahead.
Don’t think of salad as something you have to do. Make it into a meal that you actually want to eat.
Start with the foods you like to eat.
My easy vegan salad looks plentiful and complicated, to be sure, but check out this super simple ingredient list. I’ll bet you have most of this on hand already.
Make it easy on yourself by prepping backwards. Start with the sweet potatoes because they need the most time to cook. Dice them, season them, and then put them in the oven. Or if you’re time crunched, use your air fryer.
Next, steam the broccoli and drain it. Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and lemon zest and then…pop it in the oven with the potatoes.
For the chickpeas, you can do the same or just season them and skip heating them in the oven. I like to put them in the oven for a few minutes because they get a little crunchy like garbanzo bean croutons.
As for the rest of the salad? Grab your favorite raw veggies and chop until you have uniform, bite-sized pieces. I like the salad basics: scallions, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper & lettuce. Then jazz it up as you see fit.
I used Take it Veggie brand veggiegurt (coming in at 50 calories per 100 grams) and then I add as needed. Things you can use in your vegan yogurt dressing include; mustard, dill, Sriracha, parsley, roasted garlic, turmeric, curry, lemon or lime juice, capers or even vinegar. Check out my vegan Caesar salad dressing here. The truth is that it really depends on what kind of salad you’re going for. Since there was so much flavor in this salad, I kept it simple with veggiegurt, mustard, herbs & spices.
I tossed the salad in veggiegurt and used the left overs to make it visible for photos, so that last step isn’t necessary unless you plan to share beautiful vegan salad photos.
And there you have it, a (relatively) quick and easy summer salad perfect for a vegan diet.
How do you like your vegan salad? On the side or as a full meal?