The Big Salad

105 comments

choppedsalad   The Big Salad

If I owned a restaurant one of my main priorities would be to ban wimpy salads from the menu. It would be a Big Salad Only Zone enforced with salads the size of my head! *insert evil cackle* Salads that dreams are made of. We’ve all been presented with that sad restaurant salad garnished a few tomatoes and onions on top of a pitiful bowl of wilted lettuce. So tragic, isn’t it? The worst is when they have the nerve to charge $10 for such a thing. It’s just about enough to make a grown woman or man cry.

Let’s stop this insanity before it’s too late. I’ve created a Change.org petition…(just kidding!!).

How about offering a salad that’s satisfying enough to be a full meal rather than a disappointing side? Why not create something customers will rave about to their friends and bring in more business? I know it sounds crazy, but it just might work. Many restaurants already do meal-sized salads with great success; we just need to make hearty vegan salads more common on menus everywhere!

salad3   The Big Salad

salad   The Big Salad

This salad is one I’d love to see on a menu at a local restaurant. A large bed of chopped romaine forms the base followed by rows of julienned carrots, red pepper, carrots, cilantro, toasted sliced almonds, and warm & comforting roasted sweet potato rounds. I just love beautiful food. Roasted sweet potato is a comforting, stick-to-your-ribs addition and a nice temperature contrast to the cool, raw veggies. My creamy almond butter maple lime dressing brings it all together. See the bottom of the recipe for other salad dressing suggestions if you are looking for options.

On the side, I served it with my Super Power Chia Bread spread with coconut oil. It’s a satisfying, delightful lunch that really goes the distance!

Restaurants: your move.

thebigsalad   The Big Salad

The Big Salad

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free

By

print icon   The Big Salad

A hearty & vibrant chopped salad paired with a sweet and tangy almond butter maple lime dressing. Please note the measurements for the salad are approximate. Add as much or as little of each vegetable as you desire!

Yield
3 salads (estimate only)
Prep Time
Cook time
Total Time

Ingredients:

For the salad:
  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 head romaine, chopped, washed, and spun dry
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • handful or two of cilantro leaves, chopped (or try parsley)
For the dressing (makes 1/2-2/3 cup):
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter (or roasted peanut butter)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat the sweet potato slices with coconut or grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping once half way through baking, until lightly charred and fork tender.
  2. Prepare salad dressing. Mince garlic clove in a mini food processor and then add the rest of the ingredients. Process until smooth. Note that the dressing will seem thin at first, but it will thicken up as it sits.
  3. Add chopped romaine into a large bowl. Layer on the vegetables (and almonds) in rows, if desired. Or simply mix everything together. Drizzle on dressing and enjoy!

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Cheers to Big Salads…and old reruns of Seinfeld. They never get old.

“But you had to have the BIG SALAD!!” – George Costanza

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{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

Jesse @OutToLunchC September 10, 2013

I totally agree with you! A sign of a good restaurant is the quality of their big salads. I am so disappointed when bagged lettuce with some carrot slivers and a generic store bought dressing arrives at my table for lunch. Sometimes if i know that is going to be the case I either eat before hand and just enjoy the company of my friends or sneak my own toppings and dressing into the restaurant to pump up the bagged salad.

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh September 10, 2013

You are absolutely right! Big salads are the way to go. I hate seeing someone pay a ridiculous amount of money for a salad only to get something that would have them hungry again within 2 hours. THIS salad would possibly induce a food coma which makes it the queen of all salads, yo! Now, open that restaurant!

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Elyse @myveganp September 10, 2013

Mmmmm! So fresh and clean and awesome!

Definitely agree with everybody here…when a restaurant serves a side salad of spongy iceberg lettuce that’s a sign to make a break for it.

Beautiful pictures!

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Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat September 10, 2013

What a gorgeous salad and that dressing sounds amazing!

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lauren September 10, 2013

This is so pretty! I would love to see this on a menu, plus the portions are spot on. So many restaurant salads are either tiny or bigger than my torso. Not to mention the dressings are usually heavy and gross.
Now off to buy ingredients to make this for lunch :)

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Kari@Loaves n Dishes September 10, 2013

The salad is so bright and colorful, and the dressing…oh the dressing…I have a thing for a yummy dressing!

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Alexandra @ Lean Green Healthy Machine September 10, 2013

Restaurants also need to follow your lead on the healthy, yet insanely delicious dressing! Balsamic vinegar is great, but creamy vegan dressings brimming with flavor bring things to another level!
And I love that you included sweet potatoes! Roasted vegetables on salads are an all time favorite.

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Andrea September 10, 2013

Have you eaten at Urban Kitchen up on the North Service Road just east of Dorval? Now that’s a big salad!

But I agree, there’s nothing more infuriating than iceberg lettuce at a restaurant.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2013

Andrea, I’ve been wanting to go there! Thanks for the tip :) I drive by there all the time. Do you know if they have vegan options?

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Andrea September 10, 2013

You pick all your own ingredients, and they have a few kinds of beans, avocado and a lot more. Lots of choices for oil based dressings too.

And the salads are huuuuuge. I work just down the street, so it’s one of my favourite places to go to treat myself for lunch.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2013

sounds amazing! Will go there soon :) Thanks Andrea.

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ani September 10, 2013

Preach it! Petition it! Could not agree with you more. I am always “that” person who has to ask for the side vegetable ($$$) to be added to my salad and then remove 1/3 of the ingredients that actually come with salad that are just garbage (fried sticks, bland croutons, etc). It’s ridiculous too what they charge for VEGETABLES for heavens sake!
Love your salad and eat like this and thoroughly enjoy it for many meals!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2013

hah I love that you order a side of veggies for your salad – genius!! ;)

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Caitlin September 10, 2013

i’d sign that petition in a heart beat! i agree- big salads are what dreams are made of!

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Stephanie September 10, 2013

Yum! I love big salads – have to make one every day. I cannot stand it when restaurants give you tiny side or entree salads. Sometimes, as a vegan, that’s the only menu option and its nice when they (rarely!) have some substance! Going to have to try this one this week. That dressing sounds devine!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 10, 2013

Yes please! One of my biggest pet peeves is wimpy looking salads – like the ones with just a few bits of iceberg lettuce and a couple of tomatoes and cucumbers. Not to be nasty about iceberg or anything, but it kinda sucks compared to other greens! This salad sounds delicious Ange!

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Marissa September 10, 2013

This is great inspiration! I have so many butternut squash and cucumbers right now from the garden and I think instead of the sweet potato I could just substitute the squash as ANOTHER way to use it! I don’t think I can handle another batch of soup or puree right now. Thanks for the lovely inspiration.

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Kika September 10, 2013

Looks great! Since I am allergic to almonds I don’t really know what almond butter tastes like and, therefore, what would make the best substitute?! I can’t really imagine using PB on this salad (in the dressing). Do you have an idea?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2013

I would suggest my lemon tahini dressing (linked at the bottom of the recipe) it would work really well on this salad I’m sure.

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Shel@PeachyPalate September 10, 2013

Delicious!!! Totally with you on the banning wimpy salads….far too many of them here in Ireland..lettuce, tomato and cucumber with a drizzle of oil….BORING! This looks sensational!

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Christine @ Gotta Eat Green September 10, 2013

Who eats wimpy salads? Not this girl. I am also a fan of big BOLD salads that are packed with yummy ingredients. I love this salad dressing.. anything with almond butter wins me over!

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Emily - It comes naturally September 10, 2013

Funny – I was writing about big salads today. Had some fab salads on holiday in Munich, and I’m bringing the spirit home with me :-)

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Ashlee@HisnHers September 10, 2013

That dressing sounds like the perfect compliment to the ingredients in that salad. I can’t wait to make a big batch !

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Ali September 10, 2013

I have been skipping the salads lately because I’ve been too lazy to chop veggies (lame, I know, it’s too hot here to want to do anything!). I think I’m going to have to get back to it, this looks so good!

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Suzanne @ hello, veggy! September 10, 2013

I’m pretty sure I would live at your restaurant if you opened one. Are you trying to hint at something, Angela? ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2013

I can honestly say I have no desire to open a restaurant. Maybe a smoothie bar would be fun though!

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kE September 10, 2013

I wish I had this for lunch! Can you tell me where you got the bowl from? Looks like the perfect salad bowl.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2013

You are right it is the perfect size! I love these bowls – from Ikea :)

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kendy September 10, 2013

now that’s a $10 salad!

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Kathryn September 10, 2013

Awesome Salad! I love it when your recipies are oil free or easy to omit the oil. I would love to see this one in a resturant! I hate wimpy salads too!

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} September 10, 2013

I fully support your hearty vegan salad initiative! You’re right, many restaurants do meal-sized salads with meat, but it’s tougher to find one that’s vegan. Add roasted sweet potato to anything and I am one happy girl!

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Catherine @ foodiecology September 10, 2013

Beautiful salad, Angela.
I used to think salads were meant to be side dishes only since they never left me satiated, till I began making my own giant ones that included plenty of protein & healthy fats. I can’t wait to try this dressing!
Even as an omnivore, I would routinely order a salad like this in restaurants. I’d even splurge $15 or so.
Love the Seinfeld reference, too. :-)

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T September 10, 2013

That looks SO GOOD! :) Now I’m craving a big salad! :)

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Ashley V September 10, 2013

This salad looks amazing! Since I eat a salad about 98% of the time at restaurants, I have experienced my fair share of salads, and the bad ones completely ruin my desire to ever return. It really shouldn’t be hard to make a delicious salad. Over the weekend I had one with sweet potato (first time I’d ever tried that on a salad), and I love it now! Funny that you posted this a couple of days after my first sweet potato on a salad. I want to leave work this instant to make it, but alas, I cannot.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2013

Isn’t sweet potato on a salad the best? I love it so much. Same goes for adding a grain like quinoa on the base.

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Livi September 10, 2013

yum! Big salads are a staple in my daily. don’t know what I’d do without them :)!

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Kylie - FotV September 10, 2013

I have never been a fan of restaurant salads, so when I’m going out to eat with omnivore friends and they say “you can probably have salad” I just want to scream!

I would totally sign your change.org petition! ;)

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Tawny September 10, 2013

Wow I think this is one of the first times that a salad made my mouth water! I think it was the addition of the sweet potatoes! Such a good idea! I agree, most restaurant salads are a huge disappointment and very over priced for some reason. Thanks for the dressing recipe, it sounds delicious!

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McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped September 10, 2013

Don’t you love huge salads with all kinds of delicious and healthy fix-in’s? YUM

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Liz @ The Lemon Bowl September 10, 2013

Cheers to banning wimpy salads!!!

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Maria Tadic September 10, 2013

I’m so with you on that! I always need a salad with STUFF in it. Quinoa, beans, avocado, cheese, raw veggies…something! It can’t just be lettuce. So boring! I love your addition of sweet potato! I’ll have to try that one!

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Maureen September 10, 2013

Just say NO to wimpy salads!!! I paid $10 for a beet salad last week that literally had 2 beets, 1/4 of an apple and maybe 10 arugula leaves. What. The. Heck?!?! Next time I want YOUR salad!

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Julie September 10, 2013

I would totally visit your restaurant! Half the time I order a salad at a restaurant, I leave still hungry. Where is the substance?! And why am I paying $10+ for a bad of lettuce and three cherry tomatoes?!

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Andrea B September 10, 2013

You’re so right that it’s hard to find a good, filling salad that isn’t full of meat, cheese & other fillers! This one looks so good – what a great addition the sweet potato is!!

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Beth September 10, 2013

This looks SO good! And your dressing is one of my go-to dressings for my own Big Salads! We have a Big Salad for dinner at least once a week. My friend calls hers Hugh Jass salads. :)

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Abby @ The Frosted Vegan September 10, 2013

This is SO true! I didn’t come here for a little cup of wilting lettuce, I need stuff in my salad!

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Krysten (@darwinianfail) September 10, 2013

THIS LOOKS FANTASTIC!!! NOM NOM!

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Mandie September 10, 2013

I love this salad! So colorful! I just ate at a restaurant the other night and order a salad and it was the saddest looking thing and cost me $15 :( ! My husband order ribs that were less than my salad.

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