I don’t really know when or why I got to the idea to challenge myself to a salad challenge – but one day…I did. I honestly think it stemmed from the idea that I was stuck in a salad rut. I was buying the same things and my once-favorite meal seemed tired and boring. I was sick of eating lettuce, peppers, onions and cucumber. Shock! Horror!
Cue: Me instating a 5 day salad challenge for a work week. 5 days, 5 different salads. I asked Dane what he thought and he was 100% on board. I wanted to love salads again without drowning them in dressing or adding things like croutons. I browsed Pinterest for a little bit and came up with my list. I’ll warn you ahead of time that my photos are quick snaps from my iPhone, but hopefully that makes a couple of these seem more do-able in your own kitchens.
I’m sharing my full list of recipes, all the modifications I made and a grocery list of what you’ll need at the very bottom. Are you ready?
Day 1: Chicken/Caulilflower Avocado Caprese Salad. Recipe here.
I don’t eat too much meat, so I made chicken for Dane and swapped in cauliflower for myself. It was AMAZING! I also didn’t have small tomatoes or balls of mozz, so I used shredded mozzarella and chunked up regular tomatoes from our garden. I didn’t notice too much of a difference and Dane said “THIS IS SO GOOD!” So there you go – husband approved.
Day 2: Blackened Shrimp Salad. Recipe here.
So I made more than a few modifications to this one. For starters, I nixed the asparagus altogether, because our store didn’t have the really thin asparagus that I like. Don’t even get me started on thick asparagus spears, so…none for this salad. Anyway, the blackened shrimp made me nervous but they were so easy and the corn is what really makes this salad. For the dressing, I swapped in Silk yogurt to make it dairy free and also mixed in a bit of apricot puree to add a fruit zing. HOLY WOW! This was our favorite salad of week.
Day 3: Beet and Asian Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
I was most excited for this salad, because beets are my favorite. Alone, I don’t think this salad is enough to serve as a meal, so I added a little extra. For starters, I swapped out goat cheese with feta and walnuts for almonds. I also added in avocado and diced onions. For the dressing I used agave instead of honey. When I type all this out, it really seems like I didn’t follow this recipe at all…HA! That said, it was delicious. Not our favorite, but still really tasty and surprisingly filling.
Day 4: Broccoli Apple Salad. Recipe here.
I gave play-by-plays of my salad experiments over on Instagram stories, so that explains the *colorful* captions on some of these photos 😉 In any case, I was looking forward to this salad the least. I’m not sure why, I just was. I love broccoli, but I was just feeling so blah about it. Anyway, IT WAS DELICIOUS. I added only Craisins, because Dane and I both agree that raisins are disgusting. If this week taught me one thing it was to work with what you’ve got. A lot of the recipes called for special slices of things…like this one – matchstick carrots. I had baby carrots so I just chopped those suckers up. Same with the onions. I only had yellow onions, not red. I also put in almonds instead of walnuts. Improving became my strong suit 😉 For the dressing I subbed in homemade Whole30 mayo and Silk yogurt instead of Greek. I was surprised by how filling this salad is and I would definitely make it again.
Day 5: Brussel Sprout Salad. No recipe – I made this one up.
I won’t lie to you – by day 5 we were kind of like…umm – can we get a carb up in here?! But this Brussel Sprout Salad is really, really good. I simply took a bag of Brussel sprouts, shredded them in my Vitamix and added an avocado, yellow peppers, some yellow sweet onion, diced pears and tossed it all together. For the dressing I mixed apple cider vinegar, a shot of champagne, agave and ground pepper. It was a lot of flavors mixed together but honestly…a total make again!
As promised, here is a grocery list if you are interested in recreating this week of salads at your own house 🙂
Overall, I’m so happy we did this challenge. It definitely got me eating all different kinds of salads, as well as trying things I probably wouldn’t normally combine. I would highly recommend it for anyone in a “salad rut”.
Let me know if you try this out at your house!