Earlier this week, I talked about some of the made up ways I like to celebrate Christmas. Christmas salad is a very important one of those ways, and something my mom and I have been doing almost every year since I was ten years old, so I figure I should tell you a little more about it.
It’s important to note that Christmas salad was not born out of any desire on my part to eat healthy. Believe it or not, I have always liked salad, because I am a freaky freak who was always destined to go vegan. It probably didn’t hurt that I had (have) hippie parents who didn’t feed me a lot of junk. Although I went through chunky periods, I was never on a diet as a kid; salad was not “health food” to me, but simply “food.”
The idea for Christmas salad came to me in a prophetic dream when I was ten. A beautiful dream. One I can still remember! (Does anyone else have vivid memories of their childhood dreams, or is this the result of frequent psychedelic administration?) Basically, it was a big, juicy salad piled as high as my ten-year-old eyes could see with red and green fruits and vegetables, plus a bunch of other stuff I liked: shrimp cocktail (I was two years shy of going vegetarian), bowtie pasta, and I’m pretty sure some Fruit Roll-Ups snuck their way in there, too. I cared not for society’s salad rules!
My mom helped me make it a glorious reality with a few parental revisions, and ever since then, it’s been a holiday tradition for us. As a vegan of 10 years and a vegetarian of 15, my appreciation for a hearty meal-salad has only grown, especially at a time of year when I typically eat my weight in Christmas cookies and such. (Health was not a factor in the creation of Christmas salad, but it’s certainly a nice added benefit now.)
Like I said, there are no rules to making Christmas salad, but here are some suggested guidelines. Have it instead of/in addition to/as a detox from your regularly scheduled seasonal meats.
kalamata olives (they are kind of reddish brown?)
celery (I include this for color even though it’s a loser vegetable)
baked tofu (I like Soy Boy smoked tofu but you can use whatever kind you like, or make your own)
nutritional yeast and/or cheese
annie’s goddess dressing
whatever you want, go crazy!
You can mix all of these things together if you like, or if not everybody likes everything you are using, arrange them in little wedges radiating out from the center. Bam, Christmas salad! Those of you un-used to eating salad for a meal will be surprised how very filling it is. I almost always have to save leftovers, so maybe don’t put dressing on it until it’s in your bowl.