No more puny salads! How to make a big vegan chopped salad that's a meal

If you want to grab control of your health and wellness for the New Year, there’s no more important skill than learning how to make a proper vegan chopped salad. A big one the size of a dinner plate. A salad that fills you up with protein, fiber and every nutrient in the rainbow with every bite to give your body the power to heal and renew itself daily (with very little added calories or fat). To right itself from previous wrongs. To turn off cancer cells and regulate blood sugar levels. To reduce inflammation in your body.

In fact, in a study published in the journal Hypertension, those who ate a nitrate-rich meal, such as a simple bowl of lettuce, experienced a substantial drop in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure within just a few hours of the meal that lasted all day long (just like the most widely prescribed nitrate drugs) so it lowers your risk of stroke and heart attack substantially. Rich sources of nitrates include all lettuces, arugula, kale, bok choy, cabbage, spinach and beets, so you want to get a salad like this into your diet every day.

Why leave out the meat and cheese? Because these two ingredients contain no fiber or antioxidants, are the largest sources of fat and cholesterol in the standard American diet and they counteract the disease-fighting, calorie-saving powers of eating this salad.

Not to mention, when you’ve already like eaten this, you’re less likely to eat a lot of other junk food.

Here's how to get one on the table in just minutes using everything you have in the fridge right now:

Vegan Cooking Level: Beginner

Step 1. Peruse the fridge looking for salad-worthy leftovers to give your salad POW. Grab any one of the following and set it aside: small amounts of pasta, roasted veggies, falafels or fritters, any beans or chick peas, quinoa or rice.

Step 2. Set out all the lettuces and greens you have available along with any other salad ingredients you find such as carrots, onions, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli (any leftover steamed or roasted veggies are excellent for this!) and anything else you like in your salad that you have available.

Step 3. Slice all the greens in 1-inch strips and then chop crosswise again to begin your chopped salad base.

Step 4. Use your handy-dandy slicer on the largest setting for chopping to make quick work of any onions, cucumbers, cabbage. You can also use a shredder box to whiz through your carrots. The point is to keep everything in a chopped consistency.

Step 5. Assemble your Big Chopped Salad. Lay the mound of greens on the bottom of a big plate. Top with other salad vegetables. Have fun with it - be artful the way you apply each layer. Make a masterpiece! Then top with your leftovers (from step 1) and finally with sprouts and your favorite salad dressing.

Easy, oil-free salad dressing you don't have to mix separately: Just add 1 large dollop of hummus (preferably oil-free), a sprinkling of any vinegar and/or a spritz of fresh squeezed lemon juice with a twist of fresh ground black pepper to your salad and turn over and over, mixing gently at the table...

Or, experiment with any of my other favorite oil-free salad dressings!

Why do I love chopped salads so much? Because once they are all mixed up and dressed up, all the small pieces fit together so beautifully, so tastily in each bite...see?

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-Vegan Coach Naomi

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DISCLAIMER: Naomi Green is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator certified by the Main Street Vegan Academy with a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell.   Her website, Goingveganforhealth.com and her Plant-Empowered Woman  programs are a service of Going Vegan For Health, LLC, owned by Naomi Green. The content and material on this website should not be considered medical advice nor medical treatment for any specific health conditions. Naomi Green is not a health care provider or clinical nutritionist. Consult your doctor before changing your diet and discuss any and all medications you are on including monitoring your health for positive changes that may affect the amount of medication you are taking.

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