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Salads are Not Just Lettuce!

I get really frustrated when I go to a restaurant and order a salad — knowing it will be gluten free and vegan — and the waitress comes back with a plate full of lettuce and maybe a carrot or cucumber on the side!  That is NOT a salad!!  How come no one tells them that Salads are Not Just Lettuce??

I am the Salad Queen — I love salads!!  I’ve incorporated dozens of ways to make a salad with LOTS of different ingredients.  Check out some of my salad recipes here:

Salads can be made with lots of different ingredients that most people just don’t think of using.  Most of my salads are a meal within themselves!  Just by adding a few ‘extras’ you can have a satisfying meal too!  Check out the following tips to round out your salads:

  • Add beans:  My favorite is black beans, but you can use chickpeas or any of your favorite beans.  I have even added a can of Amy’s Black Bean Chili to my salads for a Mexi-Tex flavor.
  • Add grains:  My Quinoa Tabouli Salad is a perfect example of a grain salad — but you can also use rice or any whole grain in your salad.
  • Add starches:  White potatoes come to mind  — you can also try sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and red potatoes.
  • Add fruit:  I frequently add raisins to my salads, but craisins, apples, pears, grapes …. or your favorite fruit will work well.
  • Add pasta:  Gluten free pasta is a good filler for any salad. Just makes sure you have plenty of veggies so the pasta does not overpower the veggies.

Last, but not least, your salad dressing can make a big different in the tastes of your salad.  I am pretty plain, myself, as use one basic dressing — but there are a number of good salad dressings and dressing recipes out there to chose from.  Here are my two favorites: Gluten Free Vegan Salad Dressings

What ‘secret’ ingredient to you use in your salads??  Share with us!!



Spring Veggie Salad

Raw salads are the best way to eat veggies, so, today, I am sharing of my favorite raw salads: Spring Veggie Salad.  One of the reasons I like it so much is because you can alter it based on the veggies you have on hand at the time.  Or you can add or subtract any of your favorite (or not so favorite) vegetables.  Could probably also call this the End of the Summer Veggies Salad!!

The recipe below lists the veggies I used — because that is what I had in my refrigerator at the time.

Spring Veggie Salad

Spring Veggie Salad


    Raw Salad Ingredients:
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced and cut in half
  • 3/4 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • For the dressing:
  • 3/4 cup gourmet Italian (or apple cider) vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Xylitol (or your favorite sweetener)


  1. Chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Mix vinegar, oil and sugar into a microwavable bowl, and microwave for 2-3 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow dressing to cool.
  3. Mix dressing into bowl of veggies, seal the bowl and gently shake the bowl to mix the dressing into the veggies.
  4. You can serve at once or allow to marinade in the refrigerator to mix the flavors.

Quantities of the veggies can be altered according to your tastes or veggies you have on hand.

I took this salad to a church potluck and it was a huge hit (actually, I was hoping to have some leftovers to take home, but they finished it off!!).

Can you think of substitutes for this recipe that would make it even better?  How about adding avocados?   You can also try some of the following:

  • Green onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Green or wax beans
  • Kohlrobi
  • Beets
  • Summer squash
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Baby corn
  • Artichoke hearts
  • ??????

Minestrone Soup – Gluten Free and Vegan

Vegetable type soups have always been my favorite – even when I was a little girl!  The old standby, Chicken Noodle soup, was good when I was sick, but veggie soups were my favorite.

When I got older, I graduated from the ‘Campbell’ soups to Healthy Choice soups and I loved Minestrone.  Naturally, when I became Gluten Free and Vegan, I went to work to find a Minestrone soup that worked for my new lifestyle — and one that tasted good.

After a few tries, I came up with the following recipe — thick enough to eat with a fork!:

Minestone Soup

Minestrone Soup – Gluten Free and Vegan

Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Sandy Dell
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup zucchini, sliced
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup vegetable bouillon or liquid
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney or red beans
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 – 14 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup carrots, sliced
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or favorite mixed seasoning)
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • ½ cups GF shell pasta
  1. Heat oil in large kettle. Sauté garlic, onion, celery and zucchini until tender.
  2. Add bouillon, water, tomatoes, beans, carrots and spices. Bring soup to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Next add pasta, spinach and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Rather than add so many canned beans, I will often cook up a large batch of mixed beans (I keep several different types in my pantry) and freeze some of them for later use.  If you use this method, you will need 6 – 7 cups of cooked beans.

I have also tried this recipe with various other Gluten Free pasta.  Tastes good with any or all of them!

Of course, if you want a thinner soup, you can adjust the water accordingly.

Great soup to eat on a cold snowy day!