What to eat when you’re sick of salad
Sometimes, a person just can’t eat another leaf of lettuce.
Dearest food friends,
Tell the truth. This is an intervention.
You’ve had enough, haven’t you? Sure, sometimes, healthy eating feels easy, and who doesn’t like the fresh flavors of romaine, radicchio, or other such greenery? And, yes, if someone “catches” you eating a salad, it’s like they have seen you at your most health-conscious and appropriate. Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, not because you are cold, but because a salad does not contain butter. But other times, if someone were to stick a plate of just lovely lettuce with other vegetables, you would honestly want to throw it under the table and go grab some gelato out of the freezer. Wouldn’t you? WOULDN’T YOU?
Come on, now. God hates lies. Some days, you’d rather clean an old fish tank than eat a bowl of lettuce. But you’re determined to fit into a nice swimsuit in July. You’re going to your high school reunion, and you will have to see that girl, now a successful businesswoman, who made you feel ugly. Your ex is stopping by to pick up the rest of his stuff. You can’t reach for that beignet, that peach cobbler, that cream puff. You may not want to look your meanest, exactly, but you definitely want to look your leanest.
So what can you eat as an appetizer that doesn’t involve too many calories?
Well, beloved food friends, I have some options to propose to you. I don’t promise that you’ll like all of them, but all of them are a change of pace from the tossed salad rut we get in when we are eating responsibly.
Try an antipasto platter.
Ante pasto is literally in Italian “before the meal,” and it can apply to any appetizer. Traditional selections include smoked fish or sausages, olives, and vegetables like these one, which I sliced, tossed in olive oil with cut parsley, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. I flipped them over halfway through cooking, and they are delicious. I serve them cold whenever I make them.
An assiette de crudités is really not crude at all
If I had a pet rabbit, this would be the rabbit’s favorite appetizer. Instead, it is only one of my favorites. It’s nice to share a plate full of cut up vegetables (crudités just means “raw vegetables” in French) with a friend while chatting and chewing (not at the same time, as your momma raised you right). It’s healthy, the dip is only optional, and there isn’t a lettuce leaf in sight.
A Middle Eastern platter is utterly delicious!
A confession: none of these items were made by me — not the pita bread, not the stuffed grape leaves (which are a REAL challenge to make unless one is really practiced), not the hummus, and not the babaganoush (an eggplant purée, for those who haven’t tried it). All I did was add a little olive oil and herbs to the babaganoush, a little olive oil and ras al-hanout (a North African spice) to the hummus, and I squeezed lemon and sprinkled herbs on the stuffed grape leaves. I bought all these things ready-made. I got my very delicious stuffed grape leaves and babaganoush off of Amazon, and the pita and hummus came from my local grocery store. Again, notice the lack of lettuce. Eaten in moderation, these ingredients are very healthy and make either a wonderful appetizer or whole vegetarian meal.
Melone e Prosciutto sono favolosi insieme! (Cantaloupe and prosciutto are fabulous together — so say the Italians.)
No, if I ask you for melon and prosciutto, that does NOT mean that I am pregnant. It means that Italian cooks showed me how surprisingly delectable this combination of ingredients is on a hot summer nights instead of eating an ordinary salad. Obviously, I did not make the prosciutto. All I did is buy it at my local grocery store. I also cut up a melon in wedges. As you can see, I did not overwhelm the melon with very much meat.
So, dear food friend, concludes this intervention. Lettuce is not your only option for an appetizer. I did not need to cook much at all, as most of these ingredients, as I might in making a salad, just needed arranging or cutting. You have other options. Eddie Murphy once did a comedy routine about women who only eat salads. He called them “salad witches” (I misspelled one of those words). You’re not a good witch, food friend. You’re not a bad witch. You’re no longer a salad witch, either, if you ever were one. Just click your heels three times, and consider your other options if you are bored.
Grocery List and Recipes
1 large or 2 smaller eggplants
3 bell peppers
Thyme (dried or fresh)
Oregano (dried or fresh)
GROCERY AND INTERNATIONAL FOODS
Ras Al-Hanout (I bought mine on Amazon, but people can buy it in many groceries)
Stuffed grape leaves (the vegetarian kind)
This grocery order (including the online purchases above) costs $70 dollars right now at my supermarket.
Recipes (mostly, though, you just cut and arrange these things)
Dip for raw vegetables
Note that you could use any salad dressing, but if you want, take 1/4 cup of sour cream and herbs and mix them.
Preheat oven at 400 degrees.
Toss chopped eggplant, zucchini, and peppers in olive oil with salt, pepper, thyme, basil, oregano, and parsley. Bake on one side for about 20 minutes, then take them out of the oven and turn them over to the other side. Cook for another 20 minutes. Serve either hot or cold.