Turning Salad into Soul Food

We've been pairing salads with everything, like this homemade pesto dish from the garden.
At the farm, we have a HUGE amount of organic, buttercrunch lettuce we've been selling in bulk to stores and restaurants, and retail out of the farm stand. But we still have a lot leftover for our use in the house. Now, I’m not a big fan of lettuce or salads—kind of counterintuitive when you're flush with the stuff. I'm determined to change my ways. Also, this buttercrunch lettuce is a great source of vitamin A, phytonutrients, fiber, vitamin K, and folates: so it wouldn't hurt to add as much as possible to the diet.

Here's a little more about the nutritional value of buttercrunch lettuce, gleaned from LiveStrong.com: 
Buttercrunch lettuce provides almost 70 percent of your DV for vitamin K, the nutrient responsible for proper clotting of blood. It also contributes more than one-third of your daily vitamin A needs. Vitamin A encourages strong vision and helps you fight infection. Additionally, buttercrunch offers 10 percent of your DV for folate, a nutrient that supports healthy pregnancies, brain development and may fight depression. Buttercrunch is higher in vitamin K than even Romaine lettuce but is not as high in vitamin A or folate.
Each 1-cup serving of chopped or shredded buttercrunch lettuce provides between 2 and 5 percent of the DV for calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. The mineral content of butterhead-type lettuces is about the same as that in Romaine or iceberg lettuces.

So, I wanted to look up recipes that involved lettuce so I could get better at eating it on a regular basis. Now, I love a classic BLT and I found a recipe for a BLT salad. Another lettuce recipe I want to try is Artichoke Salad. I mean, who doesn't like artichokes? The recipe I found for that calls for  mushrooms, which I wouldn't have eaten a month ago but am now learning to love. The third salad I found is a Deep Dish Layered Salad. I'm working toward having a salad with every meal.

And of course remember that salads are great ways to do away with leftovers! In addition to any produce in your fridge, don't be afraid to toss last night's rice, beans, or what's left of your hummus, couscous, or pasta in as well.

BLT Salad
1 pound bacon (or vegan bacon, there are lots of kinds out there to choose from)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (or Veganaise/Nayonaise)
1/4 cup milk (soy milk will also work)
1 teaspoon garlic powder  
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste  
1 head lettuce - rinsed, dried and shredded
2 large tomatoes, chopped  
2 cups seasoned croutons
    Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat, turning frequently, until evenly browned. Drain, crumble and set aside. In a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, milk, garlic powder and black pepper. Blend until smooth. Season the dressing with salt. Combine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and croutons in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing, and serve immediately.

Artichoke Salad
.7 ounces of Italian-style salad dressing
1 cup sour cream (or vegan sour cream equivalent, Tofutti makes a great one) 

4 cups chopped lettuce                                         
1 cup chopped red bell pepper  
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms  
1/4 cup diced onion
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and Italian dressing mix.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, red pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, onion and artichoke hearts. Top with dressing and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Deep Dish Layered Salad 
2 eggs
1 1/2 heads lettuce - rinsed, dried, and shredded  
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper 
1 cup chopped green onions
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms  
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons bacon bits                      
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups mayonnaise  
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder  
1/2 teaspoon curry powder 
1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the eggs from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
2. Layer 1/2 of the lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl. Follow with a layer of celery, bell pepper, green onion, mushrooms, peas and egg. Top with remaining lettuce.
3. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, brown sugar, garlic powder and curry powder. Spread evenly over top of salad. Sprinkle with bacon bits and Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Want to get some lettuce of your very own? Stop by our farmstand or email info@betterfarm.org.