In my on-going journey for simple but fulfilling salads, I found myself absolutely desperate (lazy), and stranded (not really) with nothing (except a ton of stuff). In reality, I had a lot of resources but wasn’t feeling particularly inspired despite some intense hunger. Scavenging my kitchen, I started listlessly piling up and prepping random ingredients and found that I’d pulled together a surprisingly robust and rich seafood salad, which is why this week’s crunchy and satisfying Cinematic Salad is called the “Cast Away.”
As usual, a romaine or spinach base is my favorite, and I think that romaine is a better choice for this salad. Though it packs more vitamins, spinach can be a little soft and this salad’s other ingredients require a foundation with some strength to keep it from getting too mushy. To make up for lost vitamins, I added a ton of shredded carrots to the mix for extra nutrition and crispness. Cucumbers also upped the fresh factor and kept me from using any dressing.
Half of an avocado, cubed, piled on more dietary value. According to the Haas Avocado webpage: “Avocados, due to their mono and polyunsaturated fat content, are a great substitution for foods rich in saturated fat. Avocados also contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can contribute to the nutrient quality of your diet.” As a vegetarian, it’s important to rack up extra nutrition points everywhere I can, and avocados are pretty much a daily go-to to keep my meals balanced.
Here’s where the really glorious victory comes in, like when Tom Hanks finally spears a tantalizing crab after surviving on nothing but coconuts (which is not a recommended vegetarian diet), I realized I too had some (imitation) crab to kill. But velvety crab and smooth avocado still seemed like they were going to be too lush if I didn’t find a good contrast in my pantry.
Bacon croutons saved the day! J&D’s Bacon Croutons are the ideal vegetarian cheat for shameful bacon-flavored indulgence without any actual meat. The big, smokey squares of bacon delight were an amazing way to top it all off. If you must throw on dressing, I’d recommend a light ranch for this almost steakhouse-style salad, or turn up the heat with a few squirts of Sriracha, like I did. But please, keep it light and don’t choke this salad with cheese.
You’ll have a tough time returning to reality, but I hope you enjoy getting lost in this sinful salad like I did. —Casandra Armour