Weekday Salad Components
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and score diagonally. Sprinkle with salt, optionally brush with olive oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft, depending on the size. Keep refrigerated in an air tight container. If you’re not into eggplants, grilled zucchini will work great too.
2. Roasted Bell Peppers
Cut peppers in quarters, remove seeds. Place on a large baking tray with minimal overlapping and bake for 20 minutes at 400F (200C). Alternatively, turn on the broiler and place whole peppers on a foil-covered tray under the broiler. Check and turn peppers frequently until all the skin is burnt. Remove and cover to let sweat, until cool. Peel the skin away. Slice and remove the stem and seeds, keep refrigerated.
3. Beans and Legumes
Pre-soak and cook any kind of beans and or lentils until soft, drain, and let cool. Or rinse canned beans. I like a variety of beans such as chickpeas, kidney, black, white, puy or black lentils, etc. – any will do. To keep things even lighter and healthier, you can sprout your beans/lentils instead of cooking them. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste to your cooked or sprouted beans, add a small amount of minced garlic and plenty of fresh herbs, such as dil, parsley, cilantro, mint, basil – whatever you prefer. I’m partial to dill and parsley here. Squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice over and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Mix to combine thoroughly. The salad will become more flavorful after marinating in the refrigerator for some time. Alternatively, make your favourite grains.
4. Good Olives
I love Cerignola and Castelvetrano, which can usually be found at the salad bars of health food stores and Italian markets.
5. Other add-ons:
This Shredded Beet Salad
Fresh salad greens
Goat’s and/or sheep’s milk feta cheese
Assemble any way you like! I like to arrange salad greens on a plate or in salad bowl. Top with a small amount of chopped grilled eggplant and sliced roasted peppers. Add a tablespoon or two of beans, olives, avocado and cheese and squeeze more lemon juice over, together with olive oil (even though it’s optional here). Grind more of black pepper on top, if desired.
Optionally, add a scoop of beet salad, if using. Add sauerkraut, cucumbers and tomatoes instead of or together with other ingredients. Enjoy!