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Archive for March 22nd, 2009

Salad as Art

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

These photos are from a while ago but they are worth sharing. I realized the other day at Rae’s when I was describing my salad as starting with a ripe orange bell pepper chopped into small pieces, that other people have not discovered such joys.

My food allergies have made me a more adventurous eater. I spent a long time not knowing what foods caused me trouble. I had to rotate foods for 6 weeks, so that if I ate an ingredient one day I could not eat it again for the next 3 days. This got me very creative. I got hungry a lot.

I realized that if I made salad with a more dense vegetable than lettuce greens, I would keep the hunger at bay for longer. In particular, I enjoyed ripe (yellow, red, orange) bell peppers, and kohlrabi, chopped, as a basis for salad.


Here I have photos of two different salads I’ve made myself for lunch. Both are missing any sort of starch or grain. For protein, one could toss in some quinoa (a pseudo-grain with a good portion of protein and calcium). Or for just plain food energy, you could try some brown rice. I had brown rice crackers with these salads.

This first one is chopped red and orange bell peppers, chopped fresh parsley and sesame seeds, and tossed with good olive oil. Crunch! (And a source of vitamin C, as well.) Since I served this with Pumpkin Soup, it was better that I keep it simple.

The second one was a lunch with just a few crackers. I started with chopped red bell pepper again. However, this one needed some fuel to take me through the afternoon and to dinnertime. I added half a can of crushed California black olives, raw shelled pumpkin seeds/pepitas (the green bits), and olive oil.

I garnished it with gomasio, which is crushed sesame seeds and sea salt. The brand I seem to find around here is Eden Foods, a quality natural/organic food company which is located near Ann Arbor, Michigan. If you can’t find it locally, you can order from Eden online.


Any crunchy, dense vegetable can be a very satisfying (and filling) lunch salad base. Try carrots and apples for a sweet and tart version. If you like raw cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage they are crunchy and healthy options.

Try Kohlrabi (I can get it at Meijer, Inc. almost year round) which looks like it came from mars, but has a crunchy mild center. (Definitely toss the peelings, they are tough.) It’s good in sticks like carrots, too, but it makes a wonderful salad.

Raw beets, though messy, are very sweet and very crunchy. I’ve been told by more than one source that they need to be used with another vegetable; they actively cleanse your liver and gallbladder and too much can be hard on the system. If you use them instead of carrot (as in a lettuce salad) they are very satisfying. I like them with kohlrabi. Consider wearing rubber gloves and a full apron when handling raw beets, to avoid stains on hands and clothing.

If I need a serious protein boost, I can take a salad like these above and put a can of tuna on it. I like dill on my fish, and more olive oil. Sometimes some citrus juice or good vinegar can zip it up a bit, if you like that.

One day I had some leftover chicken which needed to be eaten. I don’t like meat, so disguising it in a salad is a good solution for me. I used orange bell peppers with the chicken, and some sections of pink grapefruit, plus dill and sesame. I should have drained the fruit, as it got soggy and a little too sour, but it was a good start on the idea of fruit-added salads. Those should be refreshing once the weather gets hot.

Be creative! We live in a day where we can get fresh vegetables out of season for our own area. We can get beautiful food for a relatively low price (in Norway, they spend 33% of their disposable incomes on food, I once read). We may as well celebrate this abundance, and eat really quality, tasty food.

Experiment, and enjoy every bite!