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DIY Salad Bowl Meal AKA elbow grease miracles

2013 January 31
by Rachel Turiel

salad bowl2

If you know me, you know my mind hangs out at the intersection of ruthlessly practical and dreamily idealistic. This manifests in totally and completely believing in miracles, especially the kind of miracles marked with the stain of your own elbow grease.

Which is sort of how I see New Years resolutions. And I didn’t even know I had any resolutions, and then new 6512 sponsor Leonie Dawson (aka: poet rapper mermaid cheerleader goddess – if you know her, you’ll understand), sent me a copy of her workbook and planner, Create your Incredible Year 2013. This workbook is where the sweet, skipping child of your inner self gets to shout out her biggest dreams to the adult you who actually knows how to make things happen. And this workbook led me to, among other profound things, a daily salad bowl meal.

salad bowl5

These workbook/planners are super affordable, super fun, and are guaranteed to make you s t r e t c h.

Here’s my problem with salads. My hunger comes on a little like a jet taking off. I go from idly taxiing in the runway of my open fridge wondering, tra-la-la, what should I make for lunch, to being so overcome by the sniper attack of my own hunger that small children who come between me and say, the peanut butter, are in trouble.

I think this is called having blood sugar issues.

And when I’m hungry like this, all the washing and chopping of salad prep feels a little being given a rubik’s cube to solve while you’re slowly dying of starvation. So, I end up consuming a lot of quick calorie carbs, otherwise known as bread. But after researching and writing this story on the paleo diet, I learned that on the Venn Diagram of diets, from Atkins to vegan and everything between, the overlap of gastronomical correctness is undoubtedly vegetables, the only food group not disparaged by anyone ever (except maybe my children).

salad bowl

This is a meal, people.

So, I’m eating monster-salads, super-size me salads, mega-salads, loaded with healthy fats and protein, almost daily, and feeling the benefits.

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What benefits, you ask? Sugar cravings reduced, energy increased, less blood sugar swings, and the literal tightening of my belt.

I feel silly even offering a recipe for a salad bowl meal, but I will say that while Rose inexplicably likes her lettuce with no salad dressing whatsoever, for me it’s all about the add-ins, which are what make me feel like I’m not actually eating, well, salad.

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Young salad upstarts. See eat you in March.


Start with: A bowl of salad greens (I love the crunch of romaine, but as soon as the greens in my cold frames start growing, I’ll be adding spinach, kale, arugula, bok choi and chard).

Add-ins: (I typically keep it simple with just avocado and blue cheese and maybe a handful of nuts, but if I was making this for you, I’d make it fancy with many things from this list because I love feeding people).


*cheese (I am currently in love with blue cheese for salads, about which Col likes to say: “you don’t have to worry about it going moldy, it already is!”

*hard boiled eggs

*apples or citrus

*nuts and seeds


*beans (garbanzos are my fave)

*chopped bacon or any meat


salad bowl3

Salad in a jar for work days.

Greenly yours,


ps: Leonie Dawson, thank you for inspiring me to strive for great things.

pps: Everyone, Leonie’s workbooks (which are super-affordable and available for Life and Business) are like having a poet rapper goddess cheerleader mermaid holding your hand as you whisper your dreams to her. Plus, she’s the brilliant blend of wise and compassionate (which is the fuel that she uses to build her own highly successful business). One of my favorite things she’s taught me is to set my 3 MIP’s (most important things) on my to-do list everyday.

ppps:  Yay for all the enthusiasm towards peaceful parenting. Winner announced tomorrow on original post. Chosen question posted with answer sometime next week.



23 Responses leave one →
  1. January 31, 2013

    Wonderful photos. It seems nutritious food and beautiful food usually go hand in hand. May I ask what dressing you use?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      January 31, 2013

      It’s my grandma’s recipe. Everyone in our family uses it.

      1 cup olive oil
      3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
      2 cloves garlic (nicked to release flavor)
      1 TBSP mustard

      Whisk and enjoy!

  2. January 31, 2013

    mama, you are singing my song. i’ve always thought of salad as a vehicle for fatty bits of goodness. i’d like to add olive oil sauteed shitake mushrooms to that list up there.

    i’m also oddly comforted by knowing that you have blood sugar issues, and i often skip salad for those exact reasons you mentioned. it’s also why we don’t keep junk food around the house because i will stuff it into my face in the interim between hungry and dinner-is-served. my friend calls it the “hangries”. hungry + hypoglycemic rage.

    so thank you for the permission to eat some lettuce with my salad toppings, as well as for the book recomendo. love to you rachel. xo

  3. January 31, 2013

    I feel the same way about salad–too much work and then it’s just salad. I like this idea of having everything ready to go, and I especially like the avocado. I’m going to go buy some lettuce today! And calling it a “salad bowl” makes it sound like something else.

  4. January 31, 2013

    I discovered the most amazing beets at our store. I literally threw my hands up and giggled with glee when I ate one from my salad. Having a big salad lunch (or soup if I’m harried and can’t chew slowly) is my goal. Looking forward to the literal tightening of the belt…

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      January 31, 2013

      The chewing! I know! Another reason that low blood sugar and salad have a hard time being friends. xo

  5. January 31, 2013

    I love a good salad. In fact, as I wandered through the grocery store this morning I thought of having one for dinner. Some veggies I like to add in I will cook just a bit – like broccoli. Makes a nice contrast to all the raw.

    My husband gets hungry like you. I keep big jars of nuts around to help him out.

  6. January 31, 2013

    this is my goal too….. renovation fueled by too many popcorn or chips and salsa and beer dinners. must make a daily salad!!

    • January 31, 2013

      ps ~ just treated myself to leonie’s combo pack :) i could use all the help i can get in the coming months!

      • Rachel Turiel permalink
        January 31, 2013

        Yahoo-eee! Wishing you fun, inspiration and the big s t r e t c h.

  7. January 31, 2013

    i have been following your blog loyally for about 2 years, found you through farmama and you’re a brilliant writer, i adore your family, and now i want a salad. :) thank you for writing. you are truly incredible for sharing your thoughts, your brilliance, and your life with the world.

  8. January 31, 2013

    I used to eat these huge salads at work, generally consisting of a full head of romaine, plus feta cheese and pecans, and a balsamic dressing that was 50/50 vinegar and oil. Left over meats if they were available. But simple lettuce/cheese/nuts/balsamic is something I can eat every day, and often did. And for a dinner salad, love to add fruit of any kind. Apples, pears, orange segments and blueberries (particularly good with goat cheese) are all favorites with a grilled chicken breast thrown over the top. This year = hoop house so I can harvest greens in the winter! Oh, and I’m so with you on the blood sugar issues, as many a man who got between me and food when I was hungry and almost lost a limb can attest.

  9. January 31, 2013

    Oh Rachel, that first picture makes my mouth water. You must tell us what wonderful yellow goodness is in the jar! Last year, I really got into salads and more importantly, making my own salad dressings! (I will never buy store bought salad dressing again). I took pictures so I could share with my mom and uploaded them to Tumblr. You might find some ideas: My favorite add-ins are those that add serious crunch, like plantain chips (I get them at Trader Joes), sliced almonds or (my very fave) crunchy noodles. And the secret to creamy salad dressing is cashews. I mix them in my Magic Bullet with EV olive oil, some type of juice and whatever else your heart desires. YUM.

  10. January 31, 2013

    This looks sooooo good. I’m the only one who eats blue cheese in the house so I never buy it but this is such a good idea – to just put it on my salad or sandwich – that I just may start making that a staple on our grocery list. Love that stuff.

    Also, the other day I made a strawberry-balsamic salad with spring greens and a little sprinkling of genoa salami and shaved Parmigiana-Reggiano for lunch. I was surprised at how satisfying it was to eat so healthfully that I didn’t even crave anything else after!

    Thank you for the inspiration.

  11. January 31, 2013

    Avocado and blue cheese and boiled eggs and romaine…these are a few of my favorite things! I love what you say here about the blood sugar monsters attacking at lunch time. I hear you, girl. My latest salad fix is baby spinach with – wait, it’s weird – a dollop of hummus and some whole wheat pita bread. I don’t know why, but I am obsessed.

  12. February 1, 2013

    Holy smokes I NEEDED this today. For me, it’s cheese. I get so hungry and then realize it’s 11 and I’ve been up since 6 and had loads of coffee and…wait, that’s it. And I slice off a slab of cheese, bemoaning that I have nothing fast and easy to make. But we always have a fridge of vegetables. Going to precut some today and make exactly what I see pictured up there. xo

  13. Melissa permalink
    February 1, 2013

    The nurse I am working with today is salivating over this salad with me. I am a huge fan and also like using sturdy greens (like kale) bc they withstand the “onthego” work days. . . .and Berkeley Bowl sells a yummy kale salad in bag! with shredded carrots and cabbage. wow. i’m starving and off to find some greens!! happy weekend! xo

  14. February 2, 2013

    Feeling “motor-vated” as we sometimes say at our house, is so great. I was inspired by a yoga book once that talked about the 3 Ds – do it, delegate it or ditch it. Saves me from my inner procrastinator daily.

  15. February 4, 2013

    Love your description of dangerously low blood sugar.

    My favorite salad method is to stir up salad dressing right on the plate or in the bowl I’ll be eating from. (I felt a little wild ending that sentence with a preposition.) My current favorite is a big blob of tahini, a dash of raw apple cider vinegar, some water or broth, a heaping dose of curry powder, a grind of pepper and another few grinds of salt. This mixes into creamy awesomeness. It adds all sorts of omega-3’s and healthy fats to the salad, plays nicely with most ingredients, and lends itself well to salads sporting garbanzo beans and feta and roasted nuts.

  16. February 5, 2013

    mmmmmm, salad! I could easily survive happily if that’s all I had to eat. (and chocolate, bread, wine, coffee….) Thanks for your inspiring list of add ons.

  17. February 5, 2013

    Reading this, I’ve had two handfulls of chocolate chips and a cup of coffee. And I’m reminded that I think a salad is always better when someone else makes it. Well, my dear, this is coming to our table tonight. Thank you. I can’t wait. Yum.

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