I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again and again and again – I LOVE BIG SALADS! All combinations of BIG SALADS. A “clean out your veggie drawer” salad. But I don’t stop at the veggie drawer. I get a little fruity, too. I’ve been known to add apples, oranges, strawberries, blueberries and even kiwi to my masterpiece. But the pantry is my secret weapon for creating the BEST, MOST NUTRITIOUS, BIG SALAD! Think nuts, dried cranberries, canned veggies, and of course, BEANS! Beans give a normal “just ok” salad that boost that sends it into the BIG SALAD realm.

I don’t really have a recipe for my BIG SALAD. I recommend opening your fridge and start unloading veggies. Every veggie you can find. Get creative! Mix your favorite lettuce with other nutrient rich leafy greens like spinach, arugula or kale. Add tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, sweet peppers, avocados, and beets. Add some fruits if you have a sweet tooth. A bit of apple, citrus or berries will satiate your sweet craving. And don’t forget your pantry. Add nuts, dried cranberries, canned corn or peas and any type of beans. I like black beans if I’m in a Mexican mood, kidney beans for my comfort-food salad and garbanzo for a Mediterranean twist.

Eat your beans!

I prefer a chopped salad because it tastes so fresh and it’s so much easier to eat. Chopping seems to intensify the flavors, making for bite size explosions of yumminess. Full disclosure, I don’t like chopping or dicing. It’s just not my thing. But I found a hack that has changed my salads forever –  no it’s not my husband. It’s a salad chopper. I linked to the one I have, but there are plenty of options available. I also have an onion chopper/dicer which works great on tomatoes and jalapeno for salsa. This takes the tears out of prep work in more ways than one. 🙂

Dressing can make or break a salad, both in taste and nutrition. While many people with use avocado and a squeeze of lemon as their dressing, I’m a balsamic vinaigrette girl. I came up with a recipe that’s quick and easy to make and you probably have the ingredients in your kitchen.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil I like to replace the oil with warm water, then add 1 Tbsp of oil. This will cut the fat and calories. 
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Sweetener like Agave, Maple Syrup, Date Syrup or Honey (not-vegan)
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until thoroughly blended.
  2. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.

I like to change things up sometimes, so I also make an avocado balsamic vinaigrette that is creamy and delicious.

Avocado Balsamic

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil  again, you can add warm water and a Tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

It’s just that easy! Easy, yes, but, I’ve also been known to drizzle balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle over the top of my masterpiece! I just couldn’t be bothered to mix up a dressing. Yes, I am the Lazy Vegan!