grilled veggie salad

March 26, 2011

During the work week, my colleagues frequently go out for lunch. While I wish I could join them every day, a few things usually stop me. For starters, I’m still waiting for my landscaping husband to plant a money tree in my backyard. Secondly, I can never eat anything worth me happily paying for. Unless they’re heading to Jason’s Deli — then I always seem to scrounge up some money for that trip.

Do you know what I usually order when I go out to restaurants? I’m going to give you two guesses.

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If you guessed salads — and salads — you’d be right. I don’t order whole tomatoes. I just got a little carried away taking pictures today.

I’ll tell you why. It’s much easier to order a salad rather than try to make your own gluten/corn/dairy free meal — oh yeah, and can it also be vegetarian? Not so much. Granted there are some great servers out there who accommodate me at some restaurants and think very creatively while I am there to make sure I have the best meal possible.

However, most often than not, it’s just easier to stay home. ::sigh:: Someday I won’t be anti-social.

But do you know what I like to make at home too?

Go ahead — I’ll give you another two guesses this time.

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You’re really starting to hate me for those tomato pictures, aren’t you? I’m thinking many of you guessed salad. Man, I thought I could trick you this time.

To be perfectly honest with you, I try to eat a salad every day. It’s an easy way to get in my veggie quota for the day, and well — they’re just darn delicious. Especially with the warmer weather approaching (not quickly enough might I add), my body craves fresh vegetables more than anything else. There’s a reason why I frequent about 3 farmers markets a week in the summer. Thank God the Husband and I are in the process of putting a garden in the backyard. The price of produce isn’t going down people. And I would be lying if I told you I haven’t been known to perhaps put back two salads a day in the summer. It just gets too hot to eat anything else.

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When I do go out for lunch during the week with some co-workers, I always go when we go to Pompei, a casual Italian restaurant. Although they offer gluten free noodles, I always get their grilled vegetable salad. It never fails me. It offers a mix of crisp greens with a copious amount of grilled vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and asparagus on top. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

So the other night when I was craving a huge salad for dinner, but was still cold because Chicago is bi-polar and likes to be 30 degrees in March, I had to make my own version.

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Grilled Veggie Salad

  • 3-4 cups baby spinach, roughly torn apart
  • 1 roma tomato, cut to your heart’s desire
  • 1 carrot, halved along the length and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 sweet onion, sliced into thick wedges
  • 1/2 sweet yellow bell pepper
  • 7-8 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • splash of water (for cooking vegetables)
  • pepper, garlic powder, and basil to taste
  • 1/4 cup hummus (because 2 tbsp. is not a serving size)
  • splash of balsamic vinegar

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Directions: Place your spinach in a large bowl (I honestly used a huge mixing bowl) and top with sliced tomato. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Cut your other vegetables and place in the skillet. Pour approximately 2-3 tbsp. water into the skillet to help the vegetables tenderize (is that a word?)  Add your spices and stir frequently to avoid charring.  Cook vegetables for ~5 minutes, so they are still semi-crisp.

Top your spinach with the grilled vegetables, and pour a splash of balsamic over the salad.

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Top your salad with hummus (I also added nutritional yeast as a last minute decision — best decision I have made all day), stir to coat, and enjoy!

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This salad was enjoyed thoroughly (twice this week). Even though I just ate it for lunch, I already want another one. I can’t decide whether it’s because I enjoy eating my body weight in hummus or if the grilled vegetables are too darn delicious to pass up. I’m going to go with both.

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Don’t even tell me that balsamic and hummus don’t go together either. They’re a match made in Heaven. Kind of like chocolate and peanut butter — or bananas and peanut butter — oats and peanut butter too. Heck, I need to make myself some peanut butter flavored hummus.

Many of you commented yesterday on my post to my mom about how you hoped she read it. You also wanted to know her reaction to the post. Last night when we surprised her when she came home from a business trip, she came into the house with tears pouring down her face  and she instantly embraced me. Okay, not really. But she loved it — she thought it was beautiful. And here is her comment:

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Well that was a feel good moment for me.

But so was that salad. I guess that money tree isn’t going in anytime soon.

Question: What is your favorite salad combination?

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