Creating Salads Without Lettuce

Certainly a tossed green salad is a "go to" in most households when creating a meal.  It just about goes with everything adding that crunch, zing and beautiful color to the plate.  But, I say, don't just think of salad with greens. Yes, greens are one of the most nutritious vegetables and packed with antioxidants (listed here), but consuming a variety of vegetables is important. Expand the mindset, change it up and create a raw salad without our dear greens.  At least once in a while.

Here are four salads you can make that do not feature lettuce of any kind but are so tasty and just as quick (maybe even quicker), provide loads of nutrition and add a bit of variety to your menu plans. Expensive food processors or mandolins are not necessary for these raw salads. However, they do require one of two inexpensive tools I bet you already have: a box grater and/or a vegetable peeler. Make sure to click on the green links for more information on a particular ingredient.

The Multi-Tasking Box Grater

But, first a word about box graters.  They are not just for cole slaw and cheese. Those razor sharp holes are ideal for turning an array of vegetables into even pieces that take on any dressing with ease.

Here is a video showing why this dietitian thinks her box grater is one of her favorite kitchen tools and the many ways she uses it:

Choose a Grated Raw Salad

Pick at least one of the four below and grate and peel your way to a delicious and nutrient-packed salad this week without shredding any lettuce at all.  These salads make three to four side servings. Double up as needed.

Raw Celery Root, Green Apple and Walnut

  • 1 small celery root
  • 1 small green apple
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnut pieces, toasted
  • 3/4 cup organic plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic lemon juice
  • pinch of pink salt and pepper
Now do this
  • Using the large holes of your grater, grate the celery root, green apple with skin, and onion into bowl.
  • Combine dressing ingredients well in another small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Pour dressing over vegetables and toss well.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Sprinkle toasted walnut pieces on top.

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons with Flecks of Red Pepper and Olives 

  • 4 small zucchini (the smaller ones are more tender)
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of herbs, minced (parsley, basil and mint are all nice)
  • 8 kalamata olives, pitted and diced


Now do this
  • Using the vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons. Grate red pepper and onion using box grater.  
  • Combine dressing ingredients and taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Place zucchini ribbons on plate and sprinkle onion and red pepper on top. Then add olives.
  • Drizzle dressing over vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with herbs.

Shaved Asparagus with Feta and Pine Nuts

  • 8 large raw asparagus spears, trimmed and peeled in long, thin strips with vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese with an extra 2 tablespoons set aside
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • zest of 1/2 small organic lemon

Now do this
  • Combine peeled asparagus and 1/4 cup feta into bowl.
  • Combine lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper and wisk together well. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Place asparagus on plate and drizzle dressing over asparagus.
  • Garnish with extra feta, lemon zest and pine nuts.

Cucumber, Sweet Onion and Mint

  • 2 organic English cucumbers or 4 Persian organic cucumbers
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 6 mint leaves, minced
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • pinch of pink salt and pepper

Now do this
  • Grate cucumber using largest hole on box grater or depending on firmness of cucumber you could use the vegetable peeler to create lengthwise strips.
  • Sprinkle salt over cucumber and place in colander and allow to drain for 15 minutes.
  • Grate onion using large holes on grater.
  • Place drained cucumbers and onion onto plate.
  • Combine vinegar, honey and sesame oil into small bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Drizzle dressing over cucumbers and onion.
  • Sprinkle with minced mint leaves.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.

asparagus: photo credit: <a href="">hoveringdog</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
zucchini: photo credit: <a href="">graibeard</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
cucumber: photo credit: <a href=""></a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>