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How to Make the Perfect Big-Ass Salad (and the Best Dressing Recipe—Ever)

make-perfect-salad-585For this and other fast and healthy ideas, be sure to check out The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet!

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
big ass salad

When I make my own dressing, I lather it on, baby.

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

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  1. I LOVE big-ass salads! I also add artichoke hearts to mine. Trader Joe’s has them canned and packed in water at a great price. They are high in fiber and I like the soft, juicy texture to contrast with all the crunch from the other veggies. My husband also smokes artichoke hearts for me anytime he’s smoking meat(I love snacking on them)! They add a really interesting flavor to salads.

  2. Melissa says:

    If I had an orange in the house, I’d make that dressing right now. Sounds delish. I will definitely try it. I LOVE my Vitamix.

  3. Sharon says:

    Your salad will be dinner tonight! We have a giant bag of oranges from my father-in- law’s tree. Can’t wait to make the salad dressing. Wish I could give Melissa some of the oranges!!

  4. lifeisgood04 says:

    I have a big ass salad just about everyday. I love to pack it up and take it to meetings with me. When everyone else is chomping on the Dominos Pizza and iceberg lettuce salad, I whip out my ginormous container of salad, to the envy of most of the people in the room. When I travel I go through veggie withdrawal because no restaurant comes close when I have set the bar so high.

    Thanks for the dressing recipe…I will be trying that today!

  5. Jodi says:

    Jenn, I LOVE the name of this post and that salad and dressing souind amazing! I say the more ingredients the better when it comes to salad – I am definitely going to try this one! And I have to go to Trader Joe’s anyway today so now I can pick up the ingredients you recommend! 🙂

  6. Crissy says:

    That dressing looks awesome! I’ll definitely be trying it. I just did a post about the insane foods that people refer to as “salads” so it’s refreshing to see a salad that actually deserves to be called a “salad.” Thanks!

  7. cat says:

    I make one big bowl of salad and take (large) servings out of it for my lunch at work all week long. Along with the basic baby spinach, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, chopped carrots, and mushrooms, other veggies come & go according to the seasons (snow peas coming soon!!). For protein I like to use imitation crab chunks or leftover chicken.

    That dressing sounds divine, I’ll have to try it!

  8. liz says:

    Those chopped veggies from Trader Joes sounds like a godsend– I will have to look for them ASAP

  9. Sir Mix A Lot says:

    Does the Big Ass Salad give you a big ass? I sure hope so.

    Thanks for the recipe!!

  10. Apple says:

    I use a mixture of baby spinach, spring mix and romaine lettuce. I then add zucchini, jicama, mushrooms, wheat germ, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Pretty much anything I have in my fridge at the time! My mom started eating a salad everyday for lunch so I am trying it too. 🙂

  11. Having a big ass salad for lunch always makes my day better. I am a crazy onion lover, so no matter what I have in my salad there is always onion. I particularly like spinach, chard, peas and zucchini in my salads. For protein I tend to go with a bunch of garbanzo beans or some grilled tofu. I also love just a drizzle of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds!

  12. That sounds delicious!!! I’d love for more people to post their favorite dressings.

  13. Sarah says:

    Holy cow. I just made a Big Ass salad inspired by this post AND smothered it in the Creamy Orange-Almond dressing (whipped up in my, ahem, BRAND NEW Vitamix). I am in salad heaven!!!! Thanks, FBG Jenn!

  14. Katie says:

    I LOVE a Big-Ass salad! My latest obsession is my very green Big-Ass salad… I start with loads of chopped romaine and arugula, then add chopped English cucumber, green peas and avocado (I like to call it nature’s mayo!). Everything is thrown into a big tupperware container, then I add a bit of salt, pepper, dried basil and a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, put the lid on and shake it up so that the avocado gets mashed up a bit and everything gets seasoned. Remove the lid and chomp away! Easy, yummy, and full of healthy greens.

  15. Macrae says:

    Very delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  16. Yummy got one on my fridge now!

  17. KittyNomNom says:

    I finally got my VitaMix and wow is that dressing delicious! I’m eating my big ass salad right now and thank you thank you thank you!

    Next time I might put some hot sauce into the dressing for that spicy zing I crave.


  18. Clara says:

    I am the queen of big ass salads and this recipe is right up my alley. I can’t wait to try the dressing! I had a coworker tell me that I need to eat in moderation when she saw the size of my salad but she won’t eat more than a fruit for lunch if she hasn’t done an hour walk. I’m all for fitness but I see nothing wrong with having a big ass salad. I need volume, people! We all consume differently.

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