Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Garbage Salad

I often hear myself saying, “I need more vegetables in my life.” I love veggies and regularly crave them. I can just never get enough. If asked to choose between fruits and vegetables for the rest of my life, I’d definitely ditch the fruit. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good apple or mango, but the savory, earthy, crunchiness of veggies just gets me.

I came up with this salad when I was craving something healthy but hadn’t been to the grocery store in awhile. Luckily I had a few things still tucked away. It turned out great and I will definitely make variations of this again, especially to enjoy in the aftermath of the holidays.  Mix and match veggies, nuts, fruit, dried fruit and grains in this salad to your tastes (or whatever you’ve got on hand).

What I like best about this concoction is all the textures. The crunchy carrots and nuts, the crispy bacon, the roasted sweet potatoes and squash and chewy raisins – it all works so well together. Great for a main dish salad or a side! And it’s easy to make a big batch, or just a serving for two. If you find other yummy ingredient combos you especially like, let me know!


Garbage Salad

Yield: 2 main dish servings or 4 side servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Mix and match any ingredients in this yummy salad. The dressing makes more than you'll need so either half the ingredients or save in the fridge for another day. Kept covered, dressing will last for about a week.


1 sweet potato
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced (I had some frozen that I thawed and used)
1 onion, chopped
3/4 c uncooked Israeli couscous (or regular couscous, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
2 pieces uncooked bacon
3 cups chopped greens (arugula, mixed greens, spinach, etc.)
3 green onions, chopped
5 baby carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, plus celery greens, chopped
1 apple or pear, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (or your favorite cheese)
crusty bread, optional

3/4 c olive oil, extra virgin
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c honey
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut sweet potato into even cubes, with skin left on (more nutrients!). In a small bowl, toss sweet potato, cubed onion and butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes (depending on size of cubes) until browned and cooked through.

Meanwhile, boil Irsaeli couscous in water (just like pasta) until cooked but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain well and rinse with cold water to cool.

Cook bacon to desired doneness and drain on paper towel-lined plate. When cool enough to handle, crumble.

When potato/onion/squash mixture is done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Combine with couscous, bacon and all other ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix up dressing ingredients in a small 1/2 pint jar (or other container) and shake until emulsified. Pour dressing over salad (to taste - there will be leftover dressing), tossing to combine. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.


8 Responses to “Garbage Salad”

  1. 1

    Courtenay — December 21, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    What did you use for the dressing? This looks soooo good!

    • Annakate replied: — December 22nd, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

      I forgot to include those ingredients in the recipe the first time! Duh. They’re there now. Best dressing ever. It’s just olive oil, honey, mustard and some kind of vinegar. Delish. It’s a go-to dressing for most everything I make. Enjoy!

  2. 2

    Vivek — December 21, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    You should’ve been at the FB Christmas potluck! I made a salad with couscous and tons of veggies (roasted red beets, chioggia beets, butternut squash, carrots, green onions, parsley, mint, almonds,and pomegranates)

    • Annakate replied: — December 22nd, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

      I know, I know! I was at a wedding in boston. I wish I could have gone!!!

  3. 3

    Becca — January 8, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

    I can’t wait to make this! Sounds so good. And I’ve never done Israeli couscous, so looking forward to checking that out.

    • Annakate replied: — January 9th, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

      Yay! It’s sooo good. I cook Israeli couscous just like pasta – though it cooks in about 5-6 min. a go-to grain in our household for sure! Report back if you make it. Will be curious to hear how you like it.

  4. 4

    La Aguacate » Ode to the Chickpea — September 1, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    […] love chickpeas. I mix them in my garbage salads, serve them heated with spices as a side to fish, add them to tuna salad, and sometimes eat them […]

  5. 5

    La Aguacate » Crock Pot Roasted Chicken, Four Meals in One! — October 19, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

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