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You’ll get a kick out of this – watching me in my own arena, sweating bullets.
You see, my big sister, Wendy (okay, not really bigger anymore, but older – once a big sister, always a big sister to a little sister), and I were recently visiting our parents.
We both eat the same crazy way – like rabbits. So we get the stuff out for our first, second, and main course – a huge, Hunkin’ salad for two – and she says to me, “Okay, Leslie, I want to see you do what you claim. Make this salad in 10 minutes.”
The challenge was on, and I was the one on the hot seat. (Big sisters are such a pain sometimes and forever bossy!)
How could I refuse? I looked at the clock and jumped into the game.
I started washing the Romaine and butter lettuce. Oh dear, where was my mother’s salad spinner? Stop the clock. Search for the spinner. I finally find it tucked away, out of reach, and lo and behold, it is a baby one. Oh, no, I’d be all day a spinnin’ those green leaves.
Start the clock. Wash, wash, wash, spin, spin, spin, and spin some more. Okay, whew, the minutes are ticking away, but the lettuce is washed and spun dry.
Next: chop the lettuce. Wait a sec. Stop the clock! I can’t find a knife with a large enough blade to quickly chop vegetables and, oh, yeah, I had forgotten – my mother doesn’t like sharp knives. Greeeeat – my only choice of weapon is a dull, kindergarten knife.
I take a deep breath. Start the clock….oh, no, is this the only cutting board my mom has – it’s too small – okay, Leslie, quit moaning (and big sister, QUIT gloating) and get to chopping – chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop.
Finally…the greens are washed, spun dry, and chopped. Now to find a large enough trough for the green bounty. Oh, dear. The frantic hunt through the cupboards is on – where, oh, where is there a bowl big enough for this gigantic salad for two. Stop the clock!
“Moooooooommmmmmyyyyyy, where is your largest bowl?”
And yes, at that point, my mother’s name went from a middle-aged woman’s “Mom” to a whiny little girl’s “Mommy.”
My mommy comes to my rescue. I smile sweetly. Glare at my sister with that big “I told you so” grin on her face. I grit my teeth on my tongue to prevent spillage of words. Start the clock.
Now to wash and chop the raw vegetables to add to the greens – darn this knife – chop, chop, chop, chop, and chop some more. Okay, whew, I throw the veggies into the lettuce to make my signature salad with 10 different vegetables, including the two kinds of lettuce and sprouts.
Voila! Done. Oh, no, I’m not – I have to find a lemon and some kind of vinegar for the dressing. Don’t bother stopping the clock – 10 minutes is long gone.
At least 45 minutes from start to finish, my smirking big sister and ever-so-humble me sit down to a feast – we feast our bodies with the best food and feast our spirits with each other’s love, companionship, and the fun of keeping little sister in her proper place.
Okay, I totally get it. Now I know why so many of you complain about how long it takes to make a salad. Wash your greens and veggies ahead of time and keep them together in the refrigerator. Make sure you have the right tools and they are strategically located.
The recipe and instructions below were birthed from two sources: sheer exasperation and my sister’s strong “suggestion” to write down what I do to make my 10+10 signature salad.
I pass the challenge on to you. After you have practiced with all the right tools, see if you can make a 10+10 salad in 10 minutes? I promise, cross my heart when I am home, I can and do every day.
Let me know how you do. And I would love your suggestions, helpful hints, and additions that you have incorporated into your own healthy salad-making.
Happy creating and happy eating to make your body a happy body!
Dr. Leslie’s 10-Minute 10+10 Rainbow Chopped Salad
I. Ingredients (Dr. Leslie’s favorites—choose 10 favorite vegetables to build your own salad)
• Lettuce (2 lettuces=2 different vegetables for “10” count): 2 kinds equivalent to 1 head (Romaine, green-leafy or red-leafy, bib, and/or butter—NOT iceberg)
• Spinach: a couple of handfuls
• Sprouts (3 different sprouts=3 vegetables): alfalfa, mung bean, or mixed bean
• Red vegetables: 1 tomato, ½ red bell pepper, ¼ cup radishes, ¼ cup red onion
• Green vegetables: ½ cucumber, ½ cup green cabbage
• Purple vegetable: ½ cup purple cabbage
• White vegetable: ¼ cup cauliflower
• 1 avocado (yes! actually a fruit!)
• Other options: broccoli, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, green or orange pepper, snap peas, yellow onions
II. The “Must” Tools
• Large salad spinner—10¼” in diameter (Note: no holes in the bottom)
• Large cutting board—20¾” x 15”
• Chef’s knife (sharp) with 8” blade
• Boning knife (sharp) with straight, narrow 6” blade
• Large bowl (the largest of the 4 stacked Pyrex glass bowls)
• Two oversized spoons or fork and spoon for tossing
1. Take all ingredients out of the refrigerator and wash. If possible, wash vegetables for 2 salads ahead of time so they are ready to go.
2. Using salad spinner, spin the lettuce and spinach until very dry
3. Finely chop lettuce and spinach—it’s easier to chew—and fill up a bowl large enough to contain a salad that will fill you up. (It takes time to learn how much salad is the right amount for you.)
4. Finely chop vegetables and place on top of a large bed of lettuce and spinach.
5. Squeeze ½ a lemon over salad, along with a couple of shakes of balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar of choice).
6. Mix salad until the avocado coats the lettuce and vegetables very well. The salad will shrink down about 1/3.
IV. Helpful Hints
Wash all green-leafy vegetables ahead of time so they are ready to go when you are ready to eat a salad.
Spin lettuce and spinach as dry as possible—they store better—and store in air-tight container.
Store all vegetables in the same area or same bag in your refrigerator so they are very accessible.
Chop green-leafy vegetables and other vegetables very finely to make chewing easier.
Dr. Leslie’s 10-Second Secret Salad Dressing
- 1 huge green-leafy salad with 10 different vegetable
- ½ of a fresh lemon or lime
- Organic balsamic vinegar (or any favorite vinegar)
(BONUS: Almost no calories in dressing and extra nutrients from the lemon or lime)
- Cut one lemon or lime in half and use fingers to squeeze the juice out of the lemon or lime onto the salad.
- Give the bottle of balsamic vinegar a few shakes over the salad for the desired amount.
- Mix very well. If an avocado has been added to the salad, the avocado coats the salad, giving it a wonderful flavor and texture.
- Stick fork into the vegetables, insert vegetables into the mouth, bite down, and chew!
- Stop eating when your brain tells you to stop. Throw the rest away. It is more of a waste to eat more food than you need than it is to feed the garbage disposal. Garbage disposals are cheaper and easier to replace than your body—a little different perspective than the “lick-your-plate” mentality that most of us were raised with.
After eating a large salad for lunch, you will get hungry in a couple of hours because raw vegetables digest quickly. That’s what’s supposed to happen—good food goes in, moves through you relatively quickly, the nutrients become a part of you, and the waste comes out. Very simple and normal process.
After eating a large salad for lunch, I get hungry within about 2½ hours. Very easy solution to hunger…EAT!
Simple rule: eat when hungry; stop eating when your brain tells you that you are satisfied.
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