It is rare that I am inspired by the thought of salad for lunch. As much as I love vegetables, salad leaves me hungry and unsatisfied. However, one of my number one rules when it comes to eating well is “if my body wants it, there must be a reason why.” (I’m not talking the third slice of chocolate cake my body wants, that’s usually just gluttony.)
I do mean that our bodies know best if they need protein, healthy fats, or starch. By listening to what foods our bodies crave, we can choose the things with the nutrients and calories our bodies need. Is there a certain colour you’re attracted to this week? Maybe your low in a certain vitamin. Wanting only warm foods that have been slowly cooked? Could be a sign your fighting off a low-level cold. Feel terrible after eating something with cheese? Don’t eat it unless your prepared for the stomach ache. Start listening to your body and you’ll automatically start eating better.
So when I was at the market today and saw the bins of absolutely beautiful salad mix for 1 Euro/100g and suddenly said “I want salad for lunch,” I knew there must be a reason why.
Not one to hesitate I choose mâche (usually known as corn-salad in english), spinach, and roquette. 120g of green goodness. A fresh ficelle aux sesame and a handful of hazelnuts become the pairing for these greens. (Yes I eat all 120g for lunch – I told you my body was missing something.)
The key to good salad (asides from fresh greens) is good dressing. Making dressing yourself allows you to play around with flavours, and for the five minutes it will take you you’ll never buy the pre-made again.
This recipe is my mother’s, and after years of feeling like my dressing was never good enough, it even taste’s like hers. By changing the quantities, but keeping the proportions the same, you can make enough dressing for just one salad or for a whole weeks worth of dressing.
Basic Honey-Mustard Dressing (Makes roughly 2 cups)
1 part dijon or grainy mustard (1/3 cup)
1 part honey (1/3 cup)
1 part good balsamic vinegar (or apple cider, or white wine or …) (1/3 cup)
3 parts good olive oil (1 cup)
salt, pepper, and fresh herbs to taste
(you’ll taste the difference here with a higher quality olive oil. Save the good stuff for dipping bread or salad dressing, and keep a bottle of less expensive oil around for roasting veggies or cooking.)
Whisk mustard, honey and vinegar together at the bottom of a medium sized bowl. Add oil, continually whisking all the while. Whisking as you gradually add the oil will help the dressing emulsify, or stay together, instead of separating as oil and vinegar usually do. Additionally, the mustard acts as an emulsifier and will help keep this dressing from breaking
Keep dressing in a jam jar in the fridge for up to one week if you used fresh herbs, or up to a month if you didn’t.
For a few ideas on how to have variety with the foods we cooked this week check out “Keeping it Fresh.”