by Andrea Gudeon
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Is a salad a salad without lettuce?
Okay, maybe this last one isn’t yet one of the great philosophical riddles of our time, but it does provide some food for thought.
With the bounty of late-summer produce at our fingertips – or at least a short trip down Connecticut Avenue to the UDC Van Ness farmers market – it’s the perfect time to think outside the box. A non-lettuce salad allows you to embrace the variety of colors, flavors and textures of the season. It’s a snap to put together and can easily be made with what you have in your produce bin. (A great solution for clearing out last week’s market finds to make room for this week’s!)
Plus, you don’t even need to follow a recipe. Instead, Jenn Krasilovsky, the UDC Van Ness farmers market student manager, suggests using a “formula” to create a salad without lettuce. Start with some produce, like corn, tomatoes, kale or carrots (or try fruit like peaches or apples), then add a “flavor punch” with fresh herbs or pickled veggies, and a salty/sweet/crunchy element like cheese, dried fruit or toasted nuts. Finish it off with a vinaigrette, a simple squeeze of fresh lemon or a drizzle of vinegar. You can even turn it into a main dish by adding protein like grilled chicken or beans, and/or a grain like wild rice or couscous.
Ready to try it for yourself? Here are a few possible combinations using Krasilovsky’s Produce + Flavor Punch + Salt/Sweet/Crunch + Dressing + Protein formula:
- Corn + pickled onions + jalapeño + cilantro + feta + lime juice
- Roasted peppers + basil + mozzarella + balsamic drizzle
- Tomatoes + peaches + cilantro + red onion + red chile + lime juice
- Cucumber + parsley or mint + spring onion + feta + couscous + lemon + salmon
Check out some more ideas below.
The UDC Van Ness farmers market is held Saturdays through November 23 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., in front of the David A. Clarke School of Law at 4340 Connecticut Avenue, NW.