A simple salad, made any way you want


It took me a while to discover that my guy, Fred, doesn't like lettuce-based salads nearly as much as he likes the vegetables that go in the salad.

This revelation occurred after a taco salad dinner, where I diced vegetables and placed them in separate containers so everyone could create their own salad. I started throwing all the leftover vegetables — diced sweet onion and various colored bell peppers that hold up better than other vegetables when stored in a glass bowl — with a folder paper towel in the bottom and one on the top before placing the tight lid on top. This keeps them fresh for a few days. The other veggies, such as cucumbers and lettuce, went in separate containers since they break down much faster. The moistness and flavors of those simple ingredients blend to became what he called his favorite salad. Really, it's that easy? This made a simple, fresh and crunchy basic salad or condiment, good on its own or added to more vegetables, tuna, chicken or potato salad. Or it could be used in sandwiches, omelets, soups, casseroles or sauces, or to act as a condiment for many meat dishes. I like it on cottage cheese for a quick lunch. Our basic recipe is even better with fresh produce from farmers' markets and from our garden. It is so simple, but having a bowl of it in the refrigerator makes for easy and quick use to add crunch, flavor and nutrition. Simple works!

The basic recipe consists of diced red, green and orange/yellow peppers (one each) and one diced sweet onion. Toss and that's it. I often double this. You can add a bit of salt or other seasonings.

We prepare it on the weekend and use throughout at least the first half of the week. It's ready to serve or use, perhaps in one of our favorite salads. I'll often make a cabbage/broccoli/coleslaw salad. Sometimes I'll add a finely diced jalapeno or two. My girls even eat it for breakfast and snacks! Wonder where that strange eating habit comes from?

What's in your salad?

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