Shredded vegetable salads are a perfect go-to meal in warm weather since they’re fresh, light and bursting with nutrients and flavor thanks to a rainbow of colors. Even if you’re a novice in the kitchen, you’ll be able to create these vibrant dishes using a few staples and a good knife or food processor.
CARROT SALAD WITH CITRUS DRESSING
Beloved in France, a carrot salad known as “carottes râpée” is commonly found in bistros, cafes and even pre-packaged in the cold section at the supermarket.
To make it at home, take a few large peeled carrots and use your shredder attachment on your food processor to finely grate them. Top with a dressing made from the juice of one lemon or a few tablespoons of 100% orange juice, a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a handful of julienned Italian parsley. Mix together by hand and — voilà — you’ve got yourself a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, lentils, tofu or your protein of choice.
KALE AND CRANBERRY SALAD
The popular leafy green known as dino kale (or lacinato kale) is a wonderful, hearty base for salad since it’s rich in filling fiber. Prep the leaves by washing them thoroughly then stripping them of the tougher stem before shredding — either by tearing or slicing into ribbons. In a mixing bowl, add the shredded kale and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt, then massage the leaves to help them soften. Add a squeeze of lemon, then toss in a handful of cranberries and chopped walnuts and garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan. If you’re dairy-free, you can sprinkle the salad with a bit of nutritional yeast, which has a similar cheese flavor and promotes gut health.
VINEGAR CABBAGE SLAW
Mayonnaise-based coleslaw is a classic picnic staple, but if you want a lighter alternative, try a vinegar-based version. Shred a small head of cabbage: white, red or both and place in a large bowl, then top with shredded carrots, julienned scallions and a bit of finely chopped cilantro (optional). For dressing, mix a 1/4 cup (60ml) each of apple cider vinegar and olive oil with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a touch of honey, to taste. Pour over your vegetables, mix well and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. For an Asian-inspired twist, you can opt for a dressing of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce mixed with grated ginger and garlic. Top with chicken or tofu for a complete meal.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD
While Brussels sprouts might be best recognized as a hot side dish for roasts or a Thanksgiving turkey, the antioxidant-rich cruciferous veggies make a fantastic base for a salad when eaten raw. With a sharp kitchen knife, trim the ends and slice them finely. Place them in a mixing bowl and dress with a squeeze of lemon and a generous dash of olive oil, salt and pepper; mix well. Top with sliced almonds and shaved Parmesan. If you’re feeling extra luxurious, add a few bits of crumbled bacon. Crunchy, tangy and savory, it’s a nutritious way to satisfy your cravings.
CHOPPED MARKET SALAD
The idea here is simple: Take your favorite ingredients from your local market and chop everything into tiny pieces so each forkful contains an easy-to-eat bite. For an Italian spin, try a combination of Romaine lettuce, shredded mozzarella, julienned salami, rinsed canned garbanzo beans and an easy dressing of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a touch of olive oil seasoned with dried thyme, salt and pepper. Or try a Mexican-inspired version with finely chopped lettuce, sliced olives, shredded pepper jack, cubed radishes, corn, drained black beans and avocado tossed with lime juice and olive oil.