Food Tales: Salad Skeptic

As the title states, I was extremely skeptical about the idea of the shaker salad jar and, to be completely honest, the only reason I decided to go for it was because of the pretty pictures. I mean, it requires a lot of chopping and not to mention how heavy (if you like the whole aesthetic of the mason jars) the final product is. Most importantly, I don’t believe it is something you can “meal prep” because I think freshness is very important. So, the idea of ingredients like eggs marinating with squashed up salad leaves and the avocado oxidising just seems a little nasty to me.

Another big downside is that getting good, fresh salad ingredients are not only expensive in Singapore but also pretty hard to find. Once you buy it, it’s preferable to eat it straight away. But I found myself in London this week and thought it was the perfect opportunity to test out these shaker salads given that Wholefoods and Marks & Spencer’s were just around the corner. And they have a huge selection of the veggies that I love.

While in London, I avoided anything pre-chopped because, well, I really prefer it as fresh as possible. Especially if I am the one making it and have control over the quality of the ingredient.
Altogether, I spent almost 30 pounds (not including the dressing and eggs, and none of the ingredients were organic) which made me about 4 servings of salad. Let’s say that’s about 60 SGD to make 4 salads which makes out to about 15 SGD per salad - that is more expensive than Salad Stop which I frequent in Singapore. And just imagine how much more the ingredients I bought would cost in Singapore (for that quality). 

Before I continue, I hope I have not deterred you guys from reading the rest of this article because, I assure you, there is a light at what seems to be a very dark tunnel!
First, let me explain how to build these salads before going into my positive afterthoughts. 

Before we begin, here's a picture of the end result for motivation:

Ingredients (from the bottom to top layer) : 
Dressing | Rapeseed Oil
Marination-Friendly Ingredients | Tomatoes, Onions, Pumpkins, Beetroot & Avocado (on hindsight, I think it would have been better to add the avocado with the proteins) 
Leafy Greens | Mixed Lettuce, Rocket & Watercress
Proteins | Salmon & 2 Eggs
Crunchy Stuff | I did not add any but I have seen recipes with bacon or nuts/seeds


Step 1 - chop, chop, chop

Step 2: Add any salad dressing you like

I'm using rapeseed oil for my dressing

Step 3: Add Marination-Friendly Ingredients
(Think, ingredients that don’t get soggy/mushy when marinating or aren’t overly spongey that is just soaks up all the dressing)

Step 3: Add the leafy greens

Step 5: Add the Proteins (mental note to self: Add avocado at this step)

Step 6: Shake (or in my case, don’t. Pour it out into a bowl) 

This is the step I didn’t understand: How on earth do you shake an almost full jar? It would have to be at least half empty in order to give it a meaningful shake. This is where I just improvise and decided it was best to empty it into a bowl. I most definitely do not have a fork that could reach all the way in either! I guess most people would have much tinier salads so that makes more sense for them. Here I am have 2 servings of the salad (the ingredients I bought would be make 4 average-sized salads, but I am greedy. I admit it!) 

Step 7: Toss, Toss, Toss.... And then, devour!

While I feel that the points I mentioned above still hold true, it is something I would do again if I found a supermarket or even wet market that sold good quality ingredients at a reasonable price (please let me know if any of you guys know of a place!). This is mainly because it just tasted SO GOOD and so, so much better than any takeaway salad I’ve ever had. It was seriously filling, I actually struggled to finish it, so next time, I won’t overestimate my appetite and that works out cheaper too.

For any working person (who enjoys cooking), I would recommend chopping what needs to be chopped and cooking what needs to be cooked the night before. Then assemble it in the morning to bring to work, along with a bowl if you find that the jar is too full to shake or too deep to actually eat from. I love the flexibility of this structure and the sort of therapeutic effect of creating your own salad, but it is definitely for people who enjoy cooking or I guess in the context of Singapore, have domestic helpers who can help. If you omit all the unhealthy dressing such as Thousand Island or Caesar’s Salad Dressing, as well as those bacon bits etc., your gut and skin will definitely thank you for treating it to this meal! 

And to end off, here is a picture of the eggs I always get from Wholefoods just because they are THE best eggs I’ve ever had. Look at that orange yolk that is perfectly gooey and is just so tasty even without salt or soy sauce! 

How all eggs should be