Clean Diet

The Salad That Made This CE Editor A Convert

This editor was never big on salads – until she met the perfect one. Read on for the bowl that made her a self-proclaimed “salad convert.” Plus, our official guide on perfecting your own salad and 3 CE recipes to get you started.

I was never the person to order a salad. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always eaten fairly well and have been conscious of the food I put in my body. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be a Clean Eating editor! But at heart, I’m a carb-lover and comfort eater. I hail from a country – Bangladesh – where we eat white rice every single day. Salads were never part of my diet, and they were the last thing on my mind when ordering out.

Pantry Rosedale perfect Mediterranean salad
Photo: Pantry Rosedale

Until I discovered the perfect salad.

Enter: the Mediterranean Salad, of Toronto-based eatery Pantry Rosedale. Crafted collaboratively by Chefs Derek Wasser and Adrian Niman, this gorgeous green bowl is brimming with plant-based goodness. A scattering of quinoa makes its well-dressed base of kale and parsley incredibly filling. Topping this leafy bed is a variety of vibrant treasures: Cubes of sunny summer squash, soft zucchini noodles and pomegranate seeds. And for the pièce de résistance, tiny red teardrop-shaped Peruvian peppers, known as “Sweety Drops.” It was everything I didn’t know salads could be: Filling, exciting and addictively delicious.

Build A Better Salad

For indulgent eaters like me, an enticing salad has several key components: Filling ingredients, flavorful dressings and exciting toppings (like Sweety Drops) that make me look forward to each bite. As a bonus, you can never go wrong with a warm component, like flaky fish or cooked chickpeas.

Sound complicated? Don’t worry – to hit the ground running with a platter you know for sure tastes good, try some of my personal favorite CE creations (pictured above):

  1. Vietnamese Shrimp Salad with Mint Chile Dressing
  2. Roasted Grape and Salmon Kale Salad with Cider Maple Vinaigrette & Gorgonzola
  3. Fattoush Salad with Chickpea Crackers & Pomegranate Honey-Mustard Dressing

If you’re determined to build your own, CE’s aficionados have made it easier than ever with the following mix-and-match chart. Simply pick one option from each row to build a layered salad that you’ll actually look forward to eating:

Options 1 Options 2 Options 3 Options 4
BASES EVERYDAY LEAFY GREENS: Boston, romaine or iceberg lettuce SLAW: purple, green, savoy or napa cabbage FANCY LEAFY GREENS: baby kale, radicchio or arugula GRAINS: quinoa, millet, farro or freekeh
PROTEIN Chicken or egg Tofu or tempeh Salmon, shrimp, crab or tuna Beans, chickpeas or lentils
RAW VEGETABLES Radishes, jicama or bean sprouts Cucumbers, sugar snap peas, snow peas or green/yellow beans Celery, carrots or bell pepper Red or green onions
ROASTED VEGETABLES Cauliflower, broccoli or Brussels sprouts Sweet potatoes or winter squash Beets, rainbow carrots or peppers Fennel bulb or parsnips
FRUITS Citrus (orange or grapefruit sections) or berries (strawberries, raspberries or pomegranate arils) Avocados, mangos, peaches or plums Tomatoes (heirloom, cherry, grape, Roma or beefsteak) Apples or pears
DRESSINGS Russian Dressing Sweet Maple Sesame Dressing Sriracha Balsamic Vinaigrette Tangy Lime Vinaigrette
CRUNCHY TOPPERS Raw nuts or seeds Honeyed Pecans Roasted Chickpeas or Edamame Crispy Quinoa Topper
CHEESE SALTY: feta or halloumi AGED: cheddar or Parmesan PUNGENT: goat or blue CREAMY: Havarti, mozzarella or Brie

The combinations are endless! If you’re daunted by the prospect of so many options, start simple, discover what you like and stick to those ingredients. Don’t have an ingredient or two? Fear not. Simply replace with an extra helping of your favorite component. Through experimentation, you’ll discover what works best for you. And before you know it, just like me, you’ll be a convert.