I don’t go to Whole Foods very often. I found myself there this weekend. When I am there I love to see what they have in the prepared foods area. I am always inspired. I think they do a really good job of (mostly) using in-season whole foods. Whole to me means, minimally processed.
As inspired as I might be, I always leave shaking my head at the prices. Especially of the prepared foods. A lunch or light meal for just one person would cost over $10 or $12. I was going to a pot-luck. If I bought enough salad to bring it would easily cost $25 to $30. I wasn’t going to do that.
Basically Whole Foods ‘recipe’ for most of the prepared salads is, take a whole grain or pulse, add some vegetables or legumes, dress it and maybe toss in some nuts or dried or fresh fruit and charge a whole lot for it.
The variations are endless and always changing with the seasons, and super easy to do at home.
With all that said, let’s make us a couple salads that, I think are Whole Foods worthy. Maybe better.
You can substitute the ingredients in these salads for what you have available to you. This is what I had.
Beet and Lentil Salad
1 Bunch of Mixed Beets cooked
2 cups of cooked grains or legumes
Optional stirred in items; additional vegetables, like carrots, onions, shallot, garlic cooked or raw.
Optional toppings; nuts, seeds, fruit fresh or dried
Dressing to pull it all together, or just oil and vinegar.
I had a mixed bunch of beets from last weeks CSA share that I boiled. See the golden beets, the Chioggia are kind of pink and the red are like jewels.
1 cup of dry lentils= 2 cups cooked. I find if you start with 1 cup of dried beans or grains that is about right ratio for one bunch of beets.
I used the beet greens and a little chard I had, and a shallot and cooked them until they were just wilted.
I added the cooked lentils and 1/2 the juice of a lemon to the chard mixture.
I made a basic vinaigrette and poured 1/2 of it on the lentil mixture and arranged that on some arugula.
Finish the salad by cutting up the beets and arranged it all in a bowl on top of the arugula and lentils.
I like the crunch of seeds so I added some pumpkin seeds and feta cheese is never a bad idea so I added some feta.
At this point you want to taste your salad, get some of all the ingredients in your taste, and pour some more vinaigrette over the beets and toppings if it needs it.
Look back at the first picture and you will see all the components.