When many people think of the Paleo diet, they think MEAT. While this is partly true, (with the focus on eating grass-fed, pastured raised meat, chicken and eggs, or sustainable fish) they may not be aware that the Paleo diet also focuses on consuming a ton of vegetables. Our go to salad is this Energizing Green Salad that is filled with vegetables, heart of palm, olives and coated in a delicious balsamic dressing!
Our Paleo meals consist of some form of clean protein with a large salad and a vegetable side dish. Occasionally, we may add rice or gluten-free noodles, for our daughters, but for the majority of the time, we eat a piece of protein and the rest if made up of veggies (and healthy fat).
This approach to our meals took some time, experimentation and discoveries of new foods. But with consistent effort and patience, we made the switch to healthier eating as a whole family.
Our meals are no longer made up of a kids meal and an adult meal (I used to do that). We all eat the same foods and there are rarely complaints made about the type of food on the table.
A true testament to consistent exposure to healthy food and role modelling is that my younger daughter gets upset when there is no salad on the table for dinner.
Before we jump into the recipe, we need to talk vinaigrette. There is nothing like a good homemade vinaigrette. You have probably heard me say this before but the salad dressing can make or break a salad. This recipe is one that I always have in the fridge. It is easy to make and far superior to any bottled dressing you can buy at the supermarket.
Simple, Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1 clove of garlic, grated on a Microplane zester or pushed through a garlic press
1 tablespoon of good quality dijon mustard (this is our absolute favourite)
salt and pepper (a couple of turns each out of a grinder)
To keep things simple and easy, I make all my salad dressings in a cleaned out olive jar. This is a perfect size, seals well and is easy to pour and store.
Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dijon and salt and pepper in the glass container and give it a good shake. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
So here is her favourite salad that we eat at least 3 times a week.
Energizing Green Salad
I like to mix up our greens each week and any combination goes with this salad. This week, I have been really enjoying a mix of arugula and romaine so that is what is in the recipe. You may need to adjust the quantities to suit you.
1 romaine heart, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large handfuls of baby arugula
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1 cup of Kalamata olives
1/2 cucumber, peeled (if not organic)
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 pieces of heart of palm, sliced into 1/2 inch discs (Native Forest brand is organic and BPA free)
1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
In a large bowl, add the romaine, arugula, peppers, Kalamata olives, and cucumber. Toss to combine well. Add the heart of palm and avocado. Shake the dressing again to combine well and then pour it onto the salad (I pour enough to do two circles of the bowl). Toss gently to mix everything and serve.
Give this Energizing Green Salad a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments below. Enjoy!