1-2-3 Salad

This is the salad that got me out of a rut.

1-2-3 Salad // The Pancake Princess

A not-eating-salad rut. For some explicable reason, the thought of salad had totally consistently repulsed me for, no lie, MONTHS before I volunteered at healthy kids cooking class. And we made a salad—and it changed EVERYTHING.

1-2-3 Salad // The Pancake Princess

For the past three weeks, I’ve been making—as Ashlae so perfectly puts it—a big ass bowl of this salad every week. Big enough to last me four or five meals. It just has everything: unwieldy, rubbery kale massaged into an unlikely state of fragrant, silky submission, buried among a wispy mixed greens or crisp pieces of romaine, creamy chunks of caramelized squash, tangy jewels of dried fruit, and clumps of chewy grains dressed in an unbeatably simple dressing.

The cooking class called this a “1-2-3 salad,” which refers to the ingredient elements that make up a complete-meal type of salad:

  1. Greens: kale, arugula, mixed greens, iceberg, romaine
  2. Fruits/vegetables/seeds: fennel, dried fruit, roasted squash or other root vegetables, cucumber, tomatoes, seeds, nuts, corn, olives, cheese
  3. Grains: farro, brown rice, quinoa, barley

1-2-3 Salad // The Pancake Princess

I know you hardly need a recipe for salad, but getting excited about this salad has pretty much revolutionized my eating habits and I just had to share in case this gets you excited too. Having a giant bowl of salad in the fridge at all times means that whenever I get snacky and open the fridge, a pretty bowl full of delicious nutrients jumps out at me. It’s like putting the “eat me” label on salad instead of the peanut butter or the crackers or the cookies/muffins/whatever.

I like to dress the entire salad when I make it and leave it in the fridge because I like slightly wilted leftover salad–is that weird? How do we feel about that? I have a feeling most people are all about the fresh salad, but let me know if you’re also in leftover salad camp. I mean I’m not a fan of SOGGY leftover salad…just slightly wilted from a light layer of dressing, you know?

1-2-3 Salad // The Pancake Princess

I’m just so excited to be excited by simple, fresh, delicious raw vegetables again. Because we all know cake requires balance. HALLELUJAH.

1-2-3 Salad

Ingredients

  • This is based off the combination of ingredients we used during class, and my favorite combination to date:

  • 1)
  • 1 head kale
  • 2 medium heads romaine lettuce or 1 large bag mixed greens
  • 2)
  • 1 medium butternut squash or acorn squash
  • 1 fennel root, sliced
  • ¼ cup craisins, golden raisins, or dried cherries
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • 3)
  • ½ cup uncooked pearled barley

  • For the dressing:
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, optional
  • salt + pepper

Instructions

Aaand we're going backwards! Start with the "3" ingredient:

Rinse the barley and bring to boil in a medium saucepan with 1 cup salted water. Turn down heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes or until barley is fluffy, tender and chewy. Add more water while cooking if the barley starts to dry out.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the squash into small chunks. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, or until tender.

Once the barley and squash are done, let cool while you wash the kale and lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces. Add the remaining ingredients, whisk all the dressing ingredients together (or put into a small glass jar and shakeshakeshake until it emulsifies), dress and eat your way to salad heaven!

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2014/01/29/1-2-3-salad/

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39 thoughts on “1-2-3 Salad

  1. Pingback: Green Papaya Salad with Chilli Dressing |Plus 9 Other Salads To Inspire You | Wholesome Cook

  2. Millie

    Absoloutely unppin love with your blog and styling – so lovely!
    I should be revising, but can’t help looking at all the posts… Whoops! Haha
    It would be great if you could check mine out too! :)

    Reply
  3. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Nice salad! We eat big assed salads for dinner a few nights a week as a part of our routine, but it’s nice to shake things up sometimes. I love to pack a big grainy salad like this for my lunches as well. I love the idea of butternut squash tossed in there. Yum!

    Reply
  4. Lianna

    that first picture looks like it could be on the cover of a food magazine! It’s actually so gorgeous, the colours are so vibrant, I want to make this my desktop background is that weird? no I didn’t think so either :P I love that this salad would be filling enough for a meal, I always have a problem with salads because no matter how massive they look they never really take up space in my stomach and I’m always left wanting to eat something else 30 minutes later. this salad would also probably make me feel better about all the cake I just ate, good thing we’re on the same page about that!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      oh my gosh I love you :) for so many reasons, starting with the fact that I share the need to repent for the cake I just scarfed for breakfast!

      Reply
  5. janet @ the taste space

    How awesome. I used to do cooking classes with at-risk youth. The young ones were great for trying new things but when I did it with homeless teenagers they would complain if we gave them too many vegetables. lesigh This looks like an awesome salad, though. ;)

    Reply
  6. cynthia

    Oh my god, STUNNING salad, Erika! How vibrant and cheerful — perfect for this dreary weather we’ve been having. Yumm, love it. If any salad could get someone out of a rut, it’s definitely this one. Mmm. (Also, this “pin this” button on your photos, is it new? It’s amazing. Haha.)

    Reply
  7. The Vegan 8

    Erika this salad is so beautiful and looks so healthy! I love a good salad and never get sick of them…I just feel so good eating them. Especially after eating ya know, cookies, brownies and of course cake is always a good thing, haha! I absolutely love cake. I really love those salad utensils too…WANT!!

    Reply
  8. Mary Frances

    Haha, how did you know I’ve been needing some good salad recipes? ;) This one really is easy and I love the colors and textures! Definitely not boring. You had me at squash and goat cheese!

    Reply
  9. Sarah

    I’ve also been in a salad rut lately – except mine is more like, “I want salad, but no salad I can imagine sounds good…” Except this one! I’ll add this to my meal plan this week:)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yay! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it :) I’m sure you’ll soon be struck with tons of ideas for yummy salads, so be sure to come back and share!

      Reply
  10. laurasmess

    I love salad. Actually, I should clarify: I love INTERESTING salads. This one definitely ticks all the boxes… crunchy, sweet, tangy, colourful, textured, delicious! Definitely trying this soon. And I’m so glad that you’re out of your ‘not eating salad rut’. I bet you feel better for it! xxx

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yes! Exactly! My boyfriend thinks salad = lettuce with ranch dressing. *shudder* (do you have ranch dressing in australia? ugh I hate it.) And I totally do, thanks lady <3

      Reply
  11. Ala

    You’d think salad wouldn’t need “teaching,” but I have weeks on end like that where something I loved eating just went blah for me. This looks like a great combo of all my favorites, though, and definitely a spark of inspiration! I love butternut squash with cranberries and gorgonzola or feta; red quinoa is also an amazing addition, but I’ll have to try the barley, too.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      RIGHT? That’s it exactly. I’m glad this could be a little bit of inspiration to you though–I’m getting so many awesome salad ideas from the comments! I’ve just been sticking to this combo lately but red quinoa and gorgonzola sound incredible!

      Reply
  12. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Erika, this will sound crazy to you (I think it’s slightly crazy myself) but the Chinese doctor told me that since my health is so bad and the air/force in my body is too “cold/cool” I shouldn’t eat raw vegetables. Meaning that even though I’ve wanted to eat salad in the past year, my family won’t let me. Sigh. Maybe I can secretly make this salad and sneak it into my diet because it’s all kinds of delicious. I love how it’s so easily changed and adaptable and girl, I love what you’re doing with your photography and styling. Beautiful, simple and effective.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh man gotta love those Chinese doctors! Actually, now that you mention it, maybe now isn’t the best time to be eating salad anyway. There have definitely been a few weeks this past month when I really wanted some hot soup to warm me up, so that doesn’t sound so crazy! That is hilarious that you’ve wanted to eat salad but your fam is protecting you from those cold vegetables! Well, the roasted butternut squash is nice and toasty, so you should get you some! Stay healthy <3

      Reply
  13. Janet

    I share your fondness for slightly wilted salads. In fact, my favorite is a wilted lettuce salad made with oak leaf lettuce and a hot bacon, onion, sugar, vinegar dressing. Yum!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh my gosh, that sounds DELICIOUS! I’m going to have to try to get my hands on some oak leaf lettuce soon. I’m so intrigued by this dressing! Do you have a recipe?

      Reply
  14. Natasha @ The Cake Merchant

    Cake totally requires balance, so I need every salad recipe I can get. Lately, I’ve been really into roasted beets and goat cheese in my salad, but butternut, feta, and dried cherries sound like great additions as well. Also, yes to the dressing. Honey+mustard are a must!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Amen! Yum–there’s nothing I love more than goat cheese + beets in my salad, but I rarely have the patience to boil beets/I never have goat cheese on hand. This needs to change!

      Reply
  15. Jamie Lee

    Amazing blog, Erika! Thanks for commenting on mine, too (thefreshmethod.com). It brought me to your blog and I love it. I could definitely use some cake inspiration to bring some sweetness to my recipes, so I will definitely be back. Xo

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much Jamie! I adore your blog–it’s so cute and your bright photos really caught my eye! I’ll definitely be back so I can get some more healthy recipes to balance out all of the sugar that will undoubtedly be taking over my blog in the coming weeks :)

      Reply

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