Lifestyle & Culture

Protein Bowl? Chef Salad? You Decide.

Photo by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

This story first appeared last spring. We thought it was time for a reprise.

I LOVE the protein bowl craze. Why wouldn’t I? I’ve always been a big fan of protein bowls; I just have had a different name for them. I call them chef salads and have been making my own versions since I was a kid. My salads started with base of lettuce mixed with various combinations of diced meats, cheese, vegetables, beans and hard-boiled eggs all mixed together with a vinaigrette.

As a kid, I loved them because it was a dinner I could customize to my taste—cubed ham, swiss cheese and cucumber was my favorite combination. As an adult, chef salads are a quick way to make use of leftovers and ingredients I always have on hand. If I have lettuce and some leftover steak, half a chicken, even just a can of tuna, I’ve got a start. The key is to build your salad with care. Start with a big, preferably shallow bowl. Add enough lettuce, torn or cut into small pieces, to cover the bottom of the bowl. Next, keep one basic rule in mind: Choose ingredients and themes that go together. Shrimp and cheddar are not a good combination, but shrimp and feta work. Combining shrimp, feta and chickpeas is going in the right direction. Add green beans and maybe some sliced, sweet bell pepper, drizzle on a lemon vinaigrette,  and you’ve got a pretty good dinner.

Got chicken? Chicken, avocado and corn, maybe with some orzo and a herb-filled vinaigrette, perfect.

Steak, blue cheese, walnuts, white beans and blanched asparagus with a balsamic dressing make another great dinner, especially as the evenings get warmer.

And for my husband’s favorite, the classic chef salad is always a winner: a mix of diced ham, roast beef and turkey, swiss and cheddar cheeses, avocado, and diced hard-boiled eggs. Toss it all with a mustard-based vinaigrette, and he is very happy. It’s old-fashioned but still still tastes delicious. Sometimes he doesn’t even notice if I sneak in a few beans or chickpeas… .

—Stephanie Witt Sedgwick

LittleBird “Stephanie Cooks” gives us permission to do what’s necessary in the crazed family kitchen.

One thought on “Protein Bowl? Chef Salad? You Decide.

  1. Stephanie Flannery says:

    Hi janet
    Love the Jean article ! I’m constantly looking for the right pair
    You have helped !

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