Let me start out by saying I hate lettuce and all lettuce related vegetables. This includes the cabbages, kale, spinach, and what ever the yard clippings are that make up “spring mix”. I will eat a salad on occasion, as I’m trying to eat healthier. There is no joy in eating salad. I say that there is something aesthetically pleasing to the shades of green with splashes of other vegetal colors. But that food still must pass through my taste-hole, where aesthetic are chomped and ground into tiny bits and taste is king. It isn’t that lettuce has no taste, it has a specific taste. It also has a texture that I find un-pleasing to the palate.
There are some lettuce-based salads that do have some good taste, for example taco and Cobb salads. But if the whole purpose of a salad (for me anyway) is low caloric content, these don’t pass muster. Plus I’d rather eat a taco than a taco salad, or a turkey club than a Cobb salad. Another non-traditional salad direction, the idea of lettuce (or it’s evil twin cabbage) mixed with copious amounts of mayo, induces a level of nausea I more commonly associate with having accidentally drunk soured milk. So what I needed was a non-lettuce salad. Something with low calorie count, but that was less flavorfully repugnant. So I decided to try to find a new salad I could stomach, a lettuce-less.
I wanted to start with what was already in the house. On hand we had carrots and jicama. I like jicama and Sara had found some prepared and on sale. I chopped the jicama and carrots and added some cherry tomatoes. We also had some black bean-corn salsa (black beans, shoepeg corn, jar of salsa, cilantro, lime juice). So I mixed it all together. Rather than a salad dressing I added an estimated table spoon of sour cream. I mixed it all up. It looked pretty weird. The liquid from the salsa and sour cream made it initially look unappetizing (like some terrible chunky coleslaw). I drained away the excess liquid and tried it anyway. It was pretty good. It had lots of crunch between the carrots and jicama. The tomatoes added tang and freshness. The salsa added a little extra flavor and spice. The sour cream rounded out the flavors. In the end I think this turned out pretty good. Even if I had left out the sour cream (thus a bit fewer calories) this would have been a good lunch. This might be something I can eat for lunch rather than relying on lettuce based low calorie lunches. I think the other key here was that it provided my stomach some bulk, pushing it to feel full/satiated, without a lot of high calorie content items. I think jicama just moved from being a garnish to a base. Maybe I’ll just wait to see how the next one turns out.