This was literally the battle cry of my Aunt Trixi from the kitchen at the cottage our families rented together every summer. Dinners were epic — there was at least nine of us at the table (more like twelve as there were always additional guests). Epic too for the hard-fought vegetable competition that my mother and Trixi would play. The only rule? Use as many vegetables in a single meal as possible. I’m fairly certain the all-time high was 17. I have a very clear memory of that night. As Trixi piled the veggies high on her plate, she shouted, “ROUGHAGE!” in a cry of triumph.
This summer, I rented a cottage with my own family. My personal best, while not record-breaking, was a solid showing at an even dozen fresh vegetables. And my daughter Maude was in for most of them.
Here are two of my favorite summer and fall salads which, served side by side, involve 12 different vegetables. I love them because they keep for several days and work with just about anything you fancy, or even as a meal on their own.
We served these salads alongside BBQ hamburgers one night, a lunch of egg salad sandwiches and then grilled pork loin the next evening. Both cole slaw and quinoa salads were given the day off but reappeared for one more dinner with chicken breasts…and they were still delicious.
Quinoa and Feta Salad
I call this a Quinoa and Feta Salad, because those are the only two ingredients that I am certain belong in the salad. The rest is literally anything else I can find. I admit in advance that the list below is a bit much — but this is what went in to my latest version. This summer in particular I have a large cache of veggies on hand as I have a seven month old who goes through pureed vegetables at an almost alarming rate. I have no fear of throwing vegetables out so I’m having fun buying everything and anything that looks good, and at this time of year my basket is overflowing!
Maude rejected the red peppers which is normally a favorite. What can you do? Almost four year olds can be a fickle lot. Mine enjoys rejecting one aspect of every meal. But when I load it up as I’ve done here, I never worry that she isn’t getting her veggies.
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup goat feta — I go for a dryer feta for a salad like this and save the creamy feta for other occasions. You can certainly do low fat feta and not loose as the olive oil in the dressing will fatten things up a bit.
1 handful each of chopped:
red pepper (1)
broccoli, slightly steamed (4)
sweet peas (8)
basil — or other fresh herbs (9)
Dressing (makes enough for a few days)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic minced (10)
1 heaping teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Cook Quinoa as instructed on package. Fluff with a fork and let cool. Chop whatever veggies you have in the fridge into manageable bites.
Mix vegetables in with the Quinoa. Top with crumbled feta and fresh herbs and toss with dressing.
If you are planning for left overs, divide in two and only add the feta and dressing to the half you're abou to serve. The salad will keep for several days in the fridge depending on the vegetables you use.
Here’s the thing about creamy coleslaw. It’s creamy. I’ve tried to make a vinaigrette based coleslaw, but feel it’s a disappointment every time. What works with potato salad, just doesn’t do it for me with cabbage. Keep in mind there’s a lot of cabbage for this 1/2 cup of mayo, so really it isn’t too terrible. And don’t forget there’s loads of ROUGHAGE! I never make a white slaw, if I’m making coleslaw it always employs the purple cabbage. There’s something so satisfying about its deep purple colour. You just know it has to be good for you.
If you can, make this the night before — the cabbage softens while you sleep! If you don’t have all night, then be sure to leave at least an hour for the dressing to wilt the cabbage before serving.
1 white cabbage chopped (11)
1/2 purple cabbage chopped (12)
4 carrots grated (already appeared in the quinoa salad so it doesn't make the count)
1/2 cup organic mayo — feel free to use low fat, just don’t bother with the no fat stuff.
1/4 cup plain organic yogurt — I use 2%
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon celery seed is optional but give coleslaw a nice kick
Combine the veggies with the dressing and you’ve got a week’s worth of salad and a whole pile of ROUGHAGE!