I will lay myself bare and stand humbly before you, for here dear reader was my lunch today. Meatball salad. With Trader Joe’s vegetarian meatballs.
But, just listen, ok?
The really awesome part of this salad is the dressing and so let’s not get caught up in all that he said she said who did what to who crap. Mistakes were made but let’s move on. I don’t remember exactly how this incarnation of the meatball salad came to be, but I do know that Josh and Michelle were joking about eating a meatball salad with the premise being that it was a laughable idea. But people put all kinds of stuff in salad. I mean, we have this idea that it either has to be something hippie like sprouts or something fancy like shaved fennel. But when I want salad, especially for lunch, I want something really substantial and really healthy. I don’t want to shove a bunch of green stuff in my face just for the sake of it, I want something that makes it seem that each leaf is a gift. Nature’s potato chip, if you must. I want to keep wanting more and more. But I don’t want all the fat, calories and other miscellany indiscretions that come with most dressings. An unhealthy salad makes me feel awkward, apprehensive and just a little bit horrified. Sort of the same reaction I get from “tween fashion.” 12 year olds in heels? No thanks!
When we think meatballs we think pasta and lots of red sauce and garlic and so forth. You don’t want to dump a thing of marinara sauce on your salad, though, as tempting as it might sound. A nice fresh tomato dressing really does the job of refining the meatball salad concept. Ripe juicy tomatoes, a little fresh garlic and bright green fresh oregano really make you feel like your slurping up a forkful of spaghetti but in salad form. You can use any vegan meatballs that you like – try the tofu balls in the ppk database or the beanballs in Veganomicon. Or if it’s lunchtime and you’re feeling kinda like “fork it!” you can just use the store bought stuff. Just don’t tell them I sent you.
This recipe is enough for 2 gigantic servings of salad. Add your favorite greens and veggies – in this picture I used mushrooms, red onions, cucumbers and radishes.
Fresh Tomato Dressing
1 lb tomatoes (about 3 average sized guys)
2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano
1 or 2 garlic cloves, very well minced (it’s going to be raw so go easy)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
fresh black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Chop the tomatoes up fairly small, immediately adding them to a mixing bowl so that not much liquid escapes. Add the remaining ingredients and use your hands (or a fork if you’re all uptight) to mush everything up really well. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to let the flavors meld. Smother your meatball salad and enjoy!