Facing the rainbow of vegetables at the u-pick station of my favorite salad shop, Blue Barn, I tend to forget that I’m not planting a garden, but planning a meal. I choose a mix that would work well alongside a hearty burger. But as dinner, it lands me back at the counter, buying one of their fist-size Rice Krispies treats.
One recent time I hit Blue Barn, there was a short line. It gave me a moment to consider my salad, and I found myself thinking: What would Laurel and Bec choose? With the twins in mind, I added pumpkin seeds (Bec) and pita chips (Laurel) to my ingredient list.
Later at home, I emailed them for feedback. They advised me to choose two or three proteins first, then a complex carbohydrate, and to build the rest based on taste. Curious to see how this strategy would alter my salad construction, I returned to the shop the following week.
I chose chicken, avocado, and walnuts for protein, and roasted sweet potatoes for my carbohydrate. Sliced watermelon radishes and snow peas added crunch. Fresh herbs lent a spring-like flavor. The season’s first asparagus was new to the menu, so in it went. Meyer Lemon-Sumac dressing gave it a little tang.
The fog had rolled in, so I started with a big bowl of asparagus soup. Then I plowed through the salad and two pieces of rosemary bread. I skipped the Rice Crispy treats. And, as I bypassed the Suzy Cakes bakery next door, I texted the twins, thanking them for the salad building help, and asking in all seriousness, “What would you choose?” See below for their dream picks.
Bec’s U-Pick Salad:
Sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds
Grated sharp cheddar
Brown rice or quinoa
Sprouted beans (I always get these from the Whole Foods salad bar, since I don’t take the time to make them at home.)
Lemon juice and olive oil
Laurel's U-Pick Salad:
Laurel says she's often tempted by the thousands of options at Whole Foods. She's always happy when she sticks to her standby, this salad which we featured a few months ago:
Crumbled blue cheese
Roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, beets, carrots & cauliflower
Bread: two olive rolls
No salad dressing necessary!