My dear Dylan is addicted to the big box stores. When we first moved into our current apartment, we spent multiple Friday nights at Home Depot, where he excitedly looked through lumber, screws, and other sundries while I tried to make the time pass. He has a similar addiction to Costco, where he can happily peruse aisle upon aisle of kitchen wares, furniture, and electronics for hours. Luckily, it is only occasionally that he feels any compulsion to purchase said items.
Me, I don’t get the whole phenomenon. Having lived nearly all my life in large, densely-packed east coast cities, not only is it difficult to find a Costco-type store (especially if you don’t have a car, as I didn’t in the past), but who has room to store 24 rolls of toilet paper or huge vats of condiments? But on the West Coast this isn’t a problem- we’re practically attached to our cars, unfortunately, and buying in enormous quantities seems to be de rigeur. So it happened that we recently ended up with six heads of romaine and a 4 pound bag of spinach, all at once. For two people.
As I put together a list of recipes I wanted to try in the upcoming week, clearly I was going to have to focus on those two ingredients. Beyond my cookbooks and the usual list of food blogs I follow, when searching for new recipes, my two go-to sources are Epicurious and the new, fun Food Blog Search. A search for romaine inevitably turns up a never-ending tally of caesar salad recipes and looking for something a little different, I happened upon this recipe for Mexican chopped salad with honey-lime dressing (from the July 2003 issue of Self) on Epicurious.
I tend to like the Self recipes well enough, but what you have to realize when you’ make them, is that you are generally sacrificing some taste, some decadence, some fun, in the name of healthy eating. So it was with this salad- it was good, fine, perfectly edible, but it would be hard to get TOO excited about it. Lots of colors and textures mean lots of different nutrients, so that’s a plus, but as you eat the salad, you would never forget that the foremost adjective used to describe it would be healthy. You know what I mean? So if you’re trying to be virtuous, trying to increase your nutrient intake, by all means, try this chopped salad out…but I’ll keep searching for a more fun way to use my remaining heads of romaine, thank you very much.
Mexican chopped salad with honey-lime dressing (serves 3-4)
2 heads chopped romaine lettuce (you may want to add more lettuce if serving 4 people)
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and well drained
3/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
3/4 cup chopped peeled jicama
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels, uncooked (or frozen or canned)
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
Half a ripe avocado, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper (use canned for less heat)
1. Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over mixture and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.