Eats Shoots and Leaves: A Post for Salad Haters


This isn’t a post to lecture you on why you should use  correct punctuation (although I’d prefer if you did). It’s about, well…eating shoots and leaves.

We all know that eating salad is good for us, and that as mature adults we should eat salad frequently for fiber, nutrients, and all that kind of good stuff.  But what if our mature adult genes never developed in the salad-eating area? What is all we like is creamy, spicy, deep fried, non-salad kinds of food? This would be the predicament that I found myself in:  I hate salad.  Salad makes me sad.  To me, salad is that thing on the side of your plate that you put there just to look like you’re a mature adult eater when you’re in front of other people (and will wind up stuck in your teeth).  Or the thing you eat when you’re needing to drop a few pounds in a hurry. It’s never oh, yippee, I’m going to eat salad.

Salad is the Celiac’s  restaurant default meal when the server or owner uncomfortably acknowledges that they have nothing on their menu that you can eat, because through using the Restaurant Script here you leaned that everything on the menu is glutinous or cross-contaminated. (“Oh, uh…we can make you a nice salad…”) So while your friends and family are devouring breaded calamari,  the spinach dip bread bowl, and the vegetarian crispy spring rolls,  or waiting for their fire-grilled vegetables and provolone panini, their thin crust shrimp pizzas, or their veggie burgers, you order another cocktail and wait for your thrilling salad. It’s a wonder that we’re all not complete lushes. So needless to say, salad doesn’t make the meal rotation much in my household.

I also find salad a PITA to make.  It’s all this multiple washing and chopping and making a dressing if you don’t like the bottled ones, and other stuff that I don’t want to do. Or buying salad ingredients that will go bad in my fridge because of everything in the preceding sentence. Those bagged salads are convenient, but not really great in my opinion. And since I can’t traipse over to Whole Foods or a grocery store to buy the good kinds of in-store, made-from-scratch, complex-ingredient, hearty, substantial salads (cross-contamination.  I weep. They actually look so yummy), my non-DIY salad options seemed bleak.   My grudge-match with salad ended up leaving me feeling more than a little guilty about depriving myself of all these magic salad nutrients. Not anymore.

Organic Pea shoots (left) and radish shoots (right) from Bryson Farms in the Ottawa area.

Gentle Readers, I have discovered sprouts and shoots. As in broccoli, radish, alfalfa, pea, and other delightful little baby leaves.   I buy them from my local farmers market, and you may have them in your CSA boxes if you’re a member. Or you can buy them at the grocery store (you may just find the sprouts. All good). Not only are these tiny little infant greens already pre-packaged and often pre-washed by others, they actually contain MORE nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants than their big-leaf versions. They’re rich in Vitamins A, C, Folic Acid, amongst others, and they have a lovely  light flavor; never bitter or harsh like mature greens can be. They are a milder version of their adult selves.  They’re also super-easy to toss into whatever you’re  making to turbo charge your nutrient quotas.

Open up your grilled cheese sandwich and toss some shoots or sprouts on top: effortless nutrition!

Grilled cheese?  No problem:  just lift that gluten-free bread and add a combo of radish and pea shoots for a zippy flavor!


How about world’s easiest, lazy-ass “I’m starving” Celiac meal of nacho chips, cheese, and salsa?  (Try the “Simple Salsa” recipe here.) Yup, toss a handful of sprouts or shoots on top, and boom! You’ve just added extra, effortless, viable nutrition!  They’re so convenient, you can add them to pretty much anything and you’ll only be improving  the flavor, and upping health factor.

So salad haters, rejoice! You too can get all that green leafy salad goodness without having to resort to eating actual salad. Now, just make sure that you’re getting adequate fiber…

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