Hot Salad [pair with protein of choice!]

I get a lot of requests for quick and easy healthy meals, so I thought I would share one of my favorite go-to recipes: Hot Salad.

What, you may ask, is a hot salad? Well it’s essentially my fancy term for a leafy-greentastic stir fry.

Stir fries are a hot commodity in my home. We will almost always have one stir fry in some form at all times, but I confess we sometimes run out because it’s just so darn tasty!

The beauty of Hot Salads are the copious varieties that you can come up with, plus you can customize it to fit your palate and budget. I love the harvest time of the year because we are inundated with such a lush collection of fresh vegetables, so making a fresh, local, organic Hot Salad is that much easier! We will usually utilize whatever vegetables we happen to have on hand, as long as they all seem to pair well together.

We always attempt to eat seasonally when at all possible, so the Hot Salad pictured to the right reflects this week’s selection of local vegetables:

Eggplant, Onion, Yellow Zucchini Squash, Red and Black Cherry Tomatoes, Tuscan Kale, and Swiss Chard – oh, and of course garlic, Himalayan salt, and pepper to taste.

Is your mouth-watering yet?

Feel free to use whatever vegetables that you like or that you have on hand, as long as you feel like the flavors will all be a good match!

I usually cook by intuition, which makes following (and writing) recipes a little tricky. But one of the many benefits of Hot Salad is how easy it is to make – simply chop up the vegetables of choice, throw them in a wok or deep saute pan, and cook away! The most important thing to remember when making Hot Salad is to put vegetables in the pan in the correct order – for instance, you would not want to start your Salad with your leafy greens (which will cook quickly) and end with your starchier or crunchier vegetables like yams or broccoli that take longer to cook.

My rule of thumb when cooking a Hot Salad is to assess what vegetables you will be using, and then order them from toughest/starchiest to lightest/non-starchiest. For example, with the vegetables used for this recipe, I started with onions (in my world, you ALWAYS start with onions) with a little organic extra virgin coconut oil over medium heat. Once the onions were slightly translucent, I then added the eggplant with a little Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids for flavor. I let that cook while I chopped and then added the yellow squash with a little  Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). You’ll notice as the Salad is cooking that as the harder veggies are softening, the newer, less-firm vegetables cook at a slightly quicker pace, and end up being cooked at relatively the same time as the first veggies you added.

Your leafy green vegetables will cook very quickly in comparison to your other vegetables, so I always throw them in right before the Salad is ready. In this case, I added the Tuscan Kale first (since it’s a little tougher than the chard), followed by the chard. If you’re cooking in a pan with a corresponding lid, I usually will pile my greens on top of the other veggies and cover for a couple of minutes to let them steam slightly; then I mix them in.

To top this Hot Salad off, I sliced my red and black cherry tomatoes in half, turned off the heat, and threw them in with the cooked vegetables, and let it all sit for a couple more minutes – enough time to let the tomatoes warm, but not enough that they would completely fall apart.
And voila! You have a delicious and nourishing meal that is easily paired with whatever protein you desire (as you can see, we may have been craving bacon when we made this last night).

Some other wonderful flavor options to enhance your Hot Salads are (but are not limited to) the following: curry powder, sage, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Play with your favorite spices and come up with your own unique and mouth-watering Hot Salad blends!