The Best Salad in Germany…

19 Aug

…comes from my kitchen!  Ha!  I woke up this morning and thought, ‘What week would be complete without a food post?!’  So I figured I’d share with you something I’m LOVING about living here- the art of making a salad!

OK, so you all know that I eat a big, beautiful, varied salad for lunch just about every single day of my life.  I absolutely LOVE salads (although I’m VERY picky about what I’ll eat in a salad!), especially ones that I make for myself!  Anyhoo, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the pre-made salad mixes in the States…here are my two favorites (always mixed together for the perfect low-calorie, high-nutrient combo) that I go through by the truckload at home…

The spring mix (generally) has good variety with colors (the darker, the more nutrients and FIBER!) and textures...

Combined with Spring Mix, Baby Spinach rounds out the perfect salad by adding LOTS of fiber and flavonoids!

Well, boys and girls, such convenient little salad mixes don’t really exist here in Germany!  I say ‘really’ because I have actually seen a few bags of questionable iceberg or romaine (nutritionally useless!) blends wilting in the back of the produce section.  So…I’ve thrown myself into making our (John prefers to eat his salad with every dinner) salads from ‘scratch!’

1. Hit up the market for as many different colors of greens you can find.  I zeroed in on a red, smooth leaf, a light, crunchy green, and a darker, smooth green.  All come in heads, still covered in dirt, straight from the Earth.  I also picked up John’s favorite, arugula (also known as rocket).

Thankfully, each head of lettuce is bagged or there'd be dirt everywhere! The arugula comes in the little tub...

2. Turn kitchen into Salad Central.  Each head needs to be cut…

The greens are loaded into the 2-part bowl...

Washed and rinsed…

The inner part of the bowl, the strainer, comes out...Wash and rinse, wash and rinse...at least 3 times to get all the sand off...Learned that one the hard way! 🙂

Dried…

Strainer goes back in the bowl, lid goes on, and green handle spins the strainer inside, slinging the water (and any residual sand) into the bottom...

You can't really tell, but there's almost an inch of water in the bottom of the bowl and the greens are now mostly dry (nothing worse than a soggy salad with water in the bottom of your bowl!)

Repeat (each head takes about 12 minutes) with all heads of lettuce and bag…

Yep, all that work for these 2 bags! Sheesh!

OK, now that the greens are taken care of, let’s move on to my favorite part, the dressing!  Now I’ve been making my own salad dressing for years- it’s a perfected art :)- and I can tell you, hands down, you won’t find any better (or healthier!) at any store or restaurant (with the exception of O’Charley’s balsamic vinaigrette or Lost Dog’s strawberry vinaigrette 🙂 )!

Today, I made vidalia onion poppy seed (enough to last for the week)...

Then, no salad would be complete without my secret weapon, healthy-version caramelized onions!

No oil, no butter...just salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic or sugar-free maple syrup. YUM!

Finally, put it all together with grated carrots (more fiber, antioxidants and beta carotene!), leftover grilled chicken (must have lean protein!), sprouts (to combat aging!) and a few dashes of spices (my favorites are Nu-Salt (no real salt for this girl!), dried tomatoes, thyme, fresh ground pepper and dried jalapenos…) And VOILA!

Lunch salad with onion poppy seed and balsamic vinaigrette (homemade yesterday)...Makes me ready for lunch!

Now, the next time you’re in Germany, you’ll know what to expect in the salad department!  With a little patience (and practice!) you can make the perfect healthy lunch no matter where you are!  Bon apetit! 🙂

3 Responses to “The Best Salad in Germany…”

  1. christina August 19, 2010 at 5:43 PM #

    yum!! i looooove arugula! and i love calling it rocket, just for fun. hehe

  2. earlinewilliams August 19, 2010 at 5:28 PM #

    It looked so good and wish I was there to share it with you.

  3. Kristin August 19, 2010 at 11:17 AM #

    Makin’ me very hungry…and desperate for a Charley’s salad soon!! Had Eclectic the other day…wasn’t the same w/o you!!….so what I’m trying to say is…HURRY HOME!!!! Miss my lunch buddy…ohhh and I’ve made a decision…they will have to be more frequent when you come back than before!! MUAH!!!! miss you love you MEAN IT!!!
    ~kristin

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