How to Make the Perfect Big-Ass Salad (and the Best Dressing Recipe—Ever)
Not to brag, but I can make a mean salad. Like a salad the size of your face. Or your small pet. A gloriously enormous salad that can be described no other way but as a “Big-Ass Salad.” And not in the sense that it makes your butt big—in fact, it does quite the opposite! But, boy, does it fill you up and, man oh man, does it make me happy.
Over the years, I like to think that I’ve perfected Big-Ass Salad-making. So I’ve created a step-by-step foolproof plan for you to make your very own. Why? Because the world is a better place when you eat Big-Ass Salads.
How to Make the Perfect Salad
1. Get the right bowl. First, you need the right bowl. Preferably, the largest you can find—I like these or the giant mixing bowls I inherited from my grandmother (she used them to make dough for her amazingly delicious homemade rolls, so the yummy history of the bowls is a sentimental bonus for me). No matter what bowl you use, choose one that makes you smile. Half of the eating experience is the presentation!
2. Mix your Big-Ass Salad ingredients. For a truly yummy salad, I find a mix of organic baby spinach with chopped veggies, a little cheese, some nuts and some protein is the perfect combination that gives you enough crunch, a ridiculous amount of nutritional variety and a beautiful meal.
Here’s a rundown of what I always have in my Big-Ass Salad (add or subtract, depending on your tastes):
- Baby spinach
- Cup of Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix (a delicious mix of red and green cabbages, carrots, broccoli, jicama, bell peppers, radishes and celery—and the chopping is done for you!)
- Half a cup or so of chopped broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini
- Half of a red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped (I’m obsessed with these lately)
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- Quarter cup of broccoli sprouts
- Some fruit—either half of a chopped apple or a handful of dried plums (for sweetness!)
- Chopped sliced turkey, a salmon burger, chicken sausage or tempeh (don’t skimp on this—the veggies will fill you up, but the protein will help you stay full!)
- Quarter cup of nuts—almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or a mix (they all rock!)
- A sprinkling of goat cheese or feta
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
3. Make the best dressing EVER. Your salad is already pretty from the fresh veggies, but this is where the magic happens. If I’m in a pinch, I’ll simply drizzle some extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil over my salad along with some balsamic vinegar and call it a delicious day. But if I have the time? I make a Creamy Orange-Almond dressing in my Vitamix that is LIFE-CHANGING. You simply blend one peeled orange, one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and one tablespoon of almond butter. The result is a creamy, slightly citrus-y and savory dressing that is filling, clean and ridiculously good for you.
Making salads for more than one? Simply double, triple, etc., the dressing recipe for each Big-Ass Salad you’re making. Note that “one serving” gives you quite a bit of dressing to use, so that every leaf and chopped veggie is covered. The only downside of the dressing is that you need to eat it pretty much as soon as you make it—but that just proves its freshness! I haven’t tried making the dressing in anything other than my Vitamix, but I imagine most blenders could handle it as long as you had a pretty juicy orange that was broken down into sections. Try it. It’s so worth the extra step.
4. Toss your salad. Aside from the dirty jokes here, it’s important to get in there and really toss your Big-Ass Salad. Whether it’s with tongs, a giant fork and spoon, or your hands, get it mixed so that every bite is a delicious harmony of everything.
5. Bless your Big-Ass Salad. This may seem silly, but take a moment to look at it before you chow down. Look at all of the bright colors, and think about all of the amazing vitamins and minerals you’re about to put into your body. Be proud of yourself for taking the time to make such a nutritious meal for yourself. Then…CHOW DOWN and enjoy every damn bite.
It may seem like this is a lot of work for a “salad,” but like I said, this is no normal salad. You can’t get this at Applebee’s…this is a Big-Ass Salad that will fill your belly and fuel your life. Yes, it’s massive, but I promise if you eat one of these every few days, your body will feel amazing inside and out. I’ve been doing it for a few years now, and they taste so good that I crave them if I go more than a day or two without one. Try it!
Do you make Big-Ass Salads? What’s in yours? Will you try my Big-Ass Salad dressing? Do tell! —Jenn