Whether you’re looking for some clean-eats inspo or for a way to sneak in some extra veggies during the week, a chopped salad is a great idea. This is especially true for the short span of weeks between American Thanksgiving and Christmas when many people have to decide between sticking to a ‘diet’ or falling off the wagon completely. If you find yourself leaning towards the latter scenario, please accept this simple, healthy and delicious recipe as a gentle encouragement to GET THE HELL BACK ON TRACK!
Sorry, don’t mean to yell but sometimes my passion gets the better of me. Scratch that, I totally meant to yell! I mean, come on! It’s not even December and I’ve already had friends, family and readers tell me they’re going to wait until the New Year to start eating clean again. They were doing so well leading up to Thanksgiving, they even crushed an October Whole30, but once they got a taste of their mom’s pecan pie they just lost all self control.
What? Why? How? I realize I’m slightly biased in saying that I want people to cook and eat healthy, since that’s what drives traffic to this blog! Far beyond that, I have a vested interest in seeing people thrive and conquer goals. I speak from experience when I say that you are doing yourself an enormous disservice by postponing any of your health goals. It is far easier to work from momentum than to crawl out of a hole after an entire month of eating garbage.
Moral of the story? You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water. Stick with your fitness and food goals until you have an overwhelming and genuine desire to indulge. Even then, do so with limits and consequences in mind. The best ‘diet’ is one you can happily sustain for the rest of your life.
Now, Back to this Chopped Salad…
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s talk salad, shall we?
Today’s version included the usual suspects (tomato, cucumber, onion) as well as some massaged kale and sautéed eggplant, because both were starting to turn in the fridge. I topped it all off with a soft-boiled egg and a quick dill vinaigrette.
There’s an entire world of chopped salad possibilities out there so don’t feel like you follow exactly in my footsteps. Feel free to add or substitute fresh or roasted red peppers, canned artichokes, olives, avocado, roasted squash, or sweet potatoes. Top with some grilled lean protein or canned fish like wild tuna or salmon.
Same things goes for the dressing. You can use any fresh herb of choice, such as parsley, cilantro, oregano, or basil. The only thing you really have to worry about is the acid to oil ration, which should almost always be 1:3. In other words, for every tablespoon of acid (whether citrus or vinegar) you need to add 3 tablespoons of oil.
One thing I have been absolutely obsessed with lately is my new Salad Spinner. I’ve been using it to dry nearly everything! It’s especially great for leafy greens like kale, which no matter how hard you try will always find a way to hold on to water that ends up in your salad.
If you don’t have one, I strongly recommend it! Even if you have no intention of using it for salads – apparently you can even dry your delicates in it according to this article.
I hope you like this recipe and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
Chopped Salad with Sauteed Eggplant
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
3 roma tomatoes – diced
2 Persian cucumbers – diced
1/2 red onion – finely chopped
1 bunch curly kale – stems removed and finely chopped
1-2 medium eggplants – diced
2 large eggs
salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
for the dill vinaigrette:
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh dill – finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
for the chopped salad:
- Preheat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced eggplant and sautée until softened and slightly caramelized (approx. 12-15 minutes). Once cooked, transfer eggplant to a paper-towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Using a spoon, submerge eggs one by one into the pot. Boil exactly 6 minutes. Drain water and transfer eggs to an ice bath for 2-3 minutes. Peel and set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse kale and remove stems. Roll the kale leaves into a tight bundle and finely chop. Squeeze a tsp of lemon juice overtop of the kale and use your hands to massage the leaves until softened – set aside.
- Arrange the chopped veggies and kale into individual piles in serving bowls, add the sautéed eggplant and top with the soft-boiled eggs. Slice the egg in half directly overtop of the salad and drizzle everything with the dill vinaigrette (see below).
for the dill vinaigrette:
- Add olive oil, lemon juice and dill to a small mason jar along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Seal with a lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. *Note: Vinaigrette will separate almost immediately. Simply shake the jar again to emulsify.