I’m often looking for dinner ideas. Pleasing 5 different palates can make it extra challenging! And so, “Make-your-own-salad” night was born. It’s nutritious, surprising, quick to prepare, and hits the spot on hot summer days. It’s great at this time of year, when fresh produce is in abundance. And as an added bonus, it’s a great way to change up last night’s leftovers.

To prepare, just set out a number of toppings. Include various food groups for a well rounded meal. It may involve some chopping or heating, but the prep work can be quite minimal.

Assembly is easy, because everyone makes their own. Everyone starts with a plate of lettuce leaves. Then we add toppings according to our tastes. Small children can do this — and can become remarkably good eaters when they make their meal themselves. Use whatever rules or guidelines work for your family. Ours is to include at least 3 different colours, and at least 1 protein.

Last night our meal included:
Diced zucchini
Diced cucumber
Diced carrots
Cherry tomatoes
Sauteed garlic scapes
Hard boiled egg
Hemp Hearts
Raisins (Yes — we include raisins. The kids think it’s fun, and why not eat a few raisins with all those veggies)

Other ideas we have used in the past:
Chicken (if we have some leftover)
Sauteed tofu
Various sprouts (alfalfa, broccoli, pea shoots)
Sunflower or sesame seeds
Green peas

Top with your favourite salad dressing. We use a homemade blend of Olive oil (sometimes we add flax oil as well), balsamic vinegar, and a small amount of salt and maple syrup.

At the end of the meal cleanup is pretty quick. I just take all the leftover “bits” and make myself a salad for lunch the next day.

Have ideas of other ingredients we could add? We would love to hear your suggestions!

About The Author

About The Author

Dr. Rachel VandenBerg, ND is a naturopathic doctor and clinic co-director at Healing Path Centre for Natural Medicine in Waterloo, Ontario. Her practice focusses on fertility, women's health and breast cancer care.