The Ultimate Salad Bowl
My Mum came round unexpectedly the other night when I was making a quick and easy mid-week dinner for Tony, Mila and I. Nothing too crazy, just some simple roast potatoes, a bunch of other vege we had in the fridge, and a creamy aioli sauce to drizzle on top. “Why don’t you share more recipes like this on the blog?” she asked. I paused for a moment, “Well, I guess they’re not really ‘recipe’ enough, are they?”. We enjoyed our simple dinner bowls together, but it did get me thinking. If one of those throw together meals is something that we enjoy at least a few times a week, then maybe it’s exactly the type of recipe I should be sharing with you!
So here it is, my formula for The Ultimate Salad Bowl. It’s an all-in, anything goes, under 20 minute, use whatever you’ve got in your cupboard type meal. When I think about it, I’ve been making versions of these bowls ever since I started working in corporate many moons ago, when I’d spend a luxurious few moments in the lunch room each day putting together a small mountain of salad type goodies. I’d often get comments like, “ooh that looks good”, “mmm can you make that for me?”, and “oh you’re so always so healthy buff”. So if that was ever you, I hope you enjoy trying out my in-house recipe today!
I’ve now whittled these wee bowls down to a pretty fool-proof formula, which you can substitute in and out of as much as you like. Five key components, plus an extra two if you’re keen. Which I guess is the brilliance of it – not being a specific recipe as such, but more a formula that you can make your own.
This version I’m sharing with you today is a recent favourite, with a base of slow roasted kumara (the New Zealand Māori word for sweet potato), topped with the most incredible creamy Orange Miso Dressing. Throw in a few blue pea sprouts, a rainbow of raw veges, some crunchy dehydrated seeds, fresh herbs, and a dollop of fermented sauerkraut, and it’s the perfect combo of sweet yet salty, filling but light, and healthy yet delicious. I hope you’ll try my Ultimate Salad Bowl, fall in love with this particular combo, and join me in creating your very own Ultimate Salad Bowls too!
- Roast root vege – kumara (sweet potato), potato or pumpkin – you can also sub this with two slices of good quality rye or whole grain toast, or 1/2 a cup of another complex carbohydrate containing food like brown rice, quinoa or barley.
- Sprouts – chickpeas, adzuki beans, lentils and peas are full of protein and all sprout beautifully.
- Raw vege – anything green for the base (lettuce, rocket, spinach, kale, cabbage), then top with as rainbow an array as you can find – radish, tomato (when in season), beetroot, carrot and capsicum (bell peppers) are all great and add wonderful colour. I love either slicing these with my mandoline, or spiralising them – both quick, and both perfect for the raw veges going into these salad bowls!
- Seeds – soaked overnight, then use as is or dry/dehydrate them to make them crunchy – pumpkin and sunflower are my favourites.
- Fermented veges (optional) – if you have it, a small spoon of fermented food like sauerkraut is great for your digestive system and creates good bacteria that help your immune system stay strong.
- Herbs (optional) – mint, basil, parsley, coriander, thyme – anything you’ve got growing!
- Creamy Dressing – essential! This Orange and Miso Dressing recipe is divine, you’ll want to drizzle it over everything. The miso is fermented too, which means you can skip the sauerkraut if you like.
The Ultimate Salad Bowl
- 1.4 kg kumara sweet potato
- 2 c bean sprouts chickpeas, adzuki beans, lentils and peas all sprout beautifully
- Raw vegetables lettuce for the base, plus anything else with colour
- 1/2 c dried activated seeds pumpkin & sunflower
- 1 c sauerkraut
- Handful fresh herbs
- 1 c creamy dressing
Creamy Orange Miso Dressing
- 1 orange flesh & zest
- 1/2 c hulled tahini
- 1/2 c water
- 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c chia seed oil
- 2 tbsp miso
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C (300°F) on fan bake.
- Sprouts: Put dry beans in a big bowl of water overnight (three times as much water as beans) and leave to expand. In the morning rinse and drain in a colander, place the colander over a bowl, and leave on the bench to sprout, rinsing and draining again each evening and morning, until they've grown small tails - normally 1-3 days.
- Root vege: Slice kumara in slices just under 1cm thick, place in a single layer on a baking tray with 1 tbsp of coconut oil, shake to cover, then bake for 18 minutes.
- Creamy dressing: Meanwhile add all dressing ingredients except the oil to a blender and blend until smooth. Then turn the blender on low and slowly pour in the oil until it emulsifies and thickens.
- Raw vege: Prep as you like, slicing thinly into sticks or rounds.
- Seeds: Use seeds you've already soaked and dehydrated previously (this is what I do, more on that here). Or just soak in a bowl of water overnight, drain and rinse (they won't be as crunchy though). Or use raw.
- Assemble each bowl as follows: big handful of greens on the bottoms, drizzle with 2 tbsp of dressing, then layer in your roast veges (1 c per person), sprouts (1/2 c per person), raw vege, herbs, sauerkraut (1/4 c per person) and seeds (2 tbsp per person). Pour over another 2 tbsp of dressing in each bowl (4 tbsp dressing in total per person). Season as you like and serve!
- Make it soy free: replace the miso with 2 tbsp coconut soy sauce/aminos.
- This recipe is perfect for lunch the next day, so make a double batch. We're a 2 (and a 1/4) person household, so this recipe for 4 is what I make, then i have lunch for the next 2 days (or dinner for 2 days in a row).
- The dressing makes 2 cups, and you only need 1/4 cup per person, so you will have 1 cup leftover. But it's so good you'll want to drizzle it over all your other salads and veges the rest of the week, or do what I've been doing this week and dipping corn chips in it!
- You can purchase ready made sprouts, but homemade are really very easy don't take much effort, and are so much cheaper. Alternatively, you can use cooked beans here eg chickpeas, kidney beans.
- Do NOT skimp on the dressing! 1/4 cup per person is definitely what you need. We haven't added any seasoning or other fats to any of the other components, so the dressing it what will flavour everything - trust me on this one. And do the double layer technique - part dressing on top of your greens, rest on top - this ensures consist flavour throughout and ultimate salad bowl taste sensation.
- I've used chia seed oil because it's a fantastic source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, and has a nice neutral taste, leaving the orange and miso flavours to shine through. You can also use flaxseed oil, sacha inchi oil, or hemp oil which also all have fantastic omega 3 benefits (but stronger flavours). Or use a simple olive oil, macadamia oil or avocado oil.