Desperate times call for desperate measures. Your man “allergic” to the texture of vegetables? Time for cauliflower jalapeno hummus with sweet potato chips. The vegetables you optimistically bought at the beginning of the week going ugly faster than the Beer Olympics at a frat house? Time for cheesy-topped veggie lasagna. Your kid won’t eat anything green, even Pirate Booty? Time for spinach brownies.
But what about those times that aren’t so desperate, the times when you want to eat something delicious, yet unabashedly healthy? Stealth health has its place in the kitchen, for sure, but I think we’ve finally gotten to a place where it’s culturally acceptable to whole-heartedly enjoy vegetables at every meal of the day without being labeled a freak (or so I’d like to think).
Smoothies and cold-pressed juices are everywhere; eating clean, eating Paleo, eating local, eating in season; vegetarian and vegan lifestyles aren’t just for the tree-hugging, granola munchers living off the grid. No matter what camp you fall into, it seems to be the consensus that eating more vegetables is the right thing to do.
Produce-filled plates at lunch and dinner are nothing new; no one will blink twice if you chow down on a Greek salad for lunch or grilled vegetable tacos for dinner. But breakfast is a little trickier, falling traditionally into either the “sweet” or “savory” categories, where vegetables only get action in the latter. However, the recent emergence of green smoothies has called for a shift of this paradigm. If you’ve wrapped your head around those, it’s time try the breakfast salad. The breakfast salad is the green smoothie’s bolder, more sophisticated older sister. It’s unprocessed, you need to chew it; there’s no mistaking there’s vegetables and fruit on your plate, but they taste satisfying and good (even at eight o’clock in the morning). Unlike a homogenous beverage, there’s balance in texture and flavor, with sweet and savory, crunchy and smooth, acidic and creamy.
This summer permutation takes shape with hearty Swiss chard and crunchy cabbage tossed with a lemony almond butter dressing on a base of crisp, sweet watermelon. Tart blueberries and creamy avocado punctuate the greens and a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes up the ante considerably. So yeah, I ate a salad for breakfast. And it was damn good.
Swiss Chard, Avocado & Blueberry Breakfast Salad with Almond Butter Dressing
Obviously, this recipe is a template, an outline if you will for a much broader idea. All the fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds are interchangeable with whatever ingredients you fancy. You could add cooked whole grains like barley or quinoa, even dairy (yogurt or cheese) if you are so inclined.
Serving the salad on a slice of watermelon makes for a beautiful presentation and eating it with a fork and knife makes the whole meal more satisfying.
Serves 1, generously
Almond Butter Dressing
1 tablespoon almond butter (raw or roasted)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon/lime zest (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon/lime juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
1 cup cabbage, finely julienned
2 cups (~2 large leaves) Swiss chard, stems finely sliced and leaves cut into pieces
2 cups watermelon (cut into chunks or left as a whole piece; alternatively use an apple)
½ cup fresh blueberries (or other berries)
1/3 ripe avocado, cut into slices or chunks
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
Make the almond butter dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside. Combine the cabbage and Swiss chard, then toss with the dressing.
Assemble the salad. Place the watermelon (or apple) on the plate and top with the dressed greens. Scatter the blueberries, avocado and toasted coconut over the top and enjoy. Alternatively cut the watermelon or apple into chunks and toss all ingredients together in a bowl.