Most weekdays during the lunch hour, or at 9:30 a.m. because it’s no one’s business when I want to eat my lunch, I can be found at my desk shoveling in what I like to call “sad-desk-salad.” Last week’s sad-desk-salad was particularly brutal in that it was endless and […]
Most weekdays during the lunch hour, or at 9:30 a.m. because it’s no one’s business when I want to eat my lunch, I can be found at my desk shoveling in what I like to call “sad-desk-salad.” Last week’s sad-desk-salad was particularly brutal in that it was endless and wasn’t even good in the first place. After day four, I was salad spent. Thank goodness it was a short week.
Salad is my go-to for a quick and healthy lunch. I try to keep a huge bowl in the fridge stocked with greens and other salad stuff so there’s no excuse when I need to pack lunch for work. I just throw a few handfuls of salad stuff in a container and rush out the door. If I forget to drizzle it with oil and vinegar, my sad-desk-salad is also dry, making it extra sad. It was one of these dry-sad-desk-salad days when a coworker offered me a shake from her container of “salad toppins.” I took the opportunity to poke fun at her for using such a ridiculous product with an even more ridiculous name, but I gave my salad a shake or two out of desperation.
Those few shakes transformed my salad; not only did they make my salad less boring, they made it delicious. I scoffed, but I ended up eating my words. After all, the product did what is was supposed to do.
I snatched up the container to check out the label, which had my internal bunk-o-meter flashing because of the words “made with real vegetables” right on the front. In my book, dehydrated vegetable bits don’t count as eating vegetables, especially when they’re in a condiment meant to be eaten on fresh vegetables. It’s too confusing, but I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. Sure enough, the ingredient list is riddled with artificial flavors and colors alongside the “real” peppers, onions and carrots. When a food product has a label advertising that it’s made with real food, it seems like a good indication that it’s probably not great for us. I like my food like I like my people — authentic.
I was determined to create a nonperishable salad sprinkle to keep in my office to make my near daily sad-desk-salad a little more exciting. There would have to be options, though. Some salads call for a bit of sweetness while others need salty, savory components.
The following recipes are a great guide and stepping stone to working out your own favorite salad sprinkles.
Healthy, crunchy salad topping
2 packages ramen noodles
1 tablespoon sesame seed
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, optional
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. With ramen noodle package unopened, crush noodles with your fingers. Open package and remove seasoning packet. Discard or save seasoning for another use. Combine ramen noodles, almonds and seeds on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with salt and stir.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in resealable plastic bags or jars.
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