The One That Got Away (Or, 'Snice, or Sober Night Salad)
In my single days I lived down the street from a NYC-hippie vegetarian place called ‘Snice. They only served salads and sandwiches, they were all around $10 and they were all fantastic. The cute counter guys knew me by name and next to those cute counter guys was always a cake stand full of carrot cake cupcakes that i STILL long for even though the place has been closed for several years….sigh. Needless to say I frequented ‘Snice often.
The name of my favorite salad was straightforward and not at all descriptive of its genius, so I fondly remember it as My “Sober Night Salad” or, “The One That Got Away.” This salad was perfect for me the day after I’d been out a bit too late the night before and been shall we say . . . over served. It was also what I went to when I was feeling healthy and virtuous after a good yoga class and wanted to continue the good feels. Or after getting off a plane when I was too tired to cook but was starving and felt gross from a day of airport food. So it basically hit the spot anytime. It became comforting to me in a way that a salad had never been (and let’s face it, never should be. For anyone, but I am a weirdo.) But I want to tell you: It was satisfying yet clean. Healthy and filling without being at all punishing or austere. It was vegan before I was and I didn’t mind. Everyone I introduced to that salad loved it, from my mom and sisters to my omnivorous boyfriend(s).
I’ve tried to find replacement takeout salads, and some have even come close. The By Chloie Kale Caesar is definitely delicious and craveable (that dressing! Mmmm.) but lacks the wholesomeness with it’s sugary croutons and meager serving of greens. The Spicy Thai from Sweetgreen ) is fantastic and healthy but is more of just a lunch thing.
It’s that ‘Snice Sober night salad I still continue to want. Sober Night . . . I just can’t quit you.
I remember every single element in the “The One That Got Away” as I have the odd skill of a photographic memory for any food I have ever enjoyed. On top of a fresh bed of healthy greens dotted with halved cherry tomatoes and a few black beans, was drizzled a not-too-thick (vegan take on a) green goddess dressing. On top, a hearty serving of fluffy quinoa was specked with cilantro, tiny bits of red onion, and drizzled with yet more of the green goddess. Perched on top of that hearty base was a shower of baked tortilla strips for crunch and a treat. And on top of it all, some ripe and creamy avocado slices, drizzled with more dressing just for the perfect veggie to dressing ratio.
Let’s get cooking.
“The One that got away”
6-8 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon of neutral high heat oil
6 cups cooked quinoa, white or red or a mixture
¾ cup halved cherry tomatoes (or better tomatoes if they’re in season, in which case, double the amount)
1 cup black beans (or sub edamame)
1 and ½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, lightly cooked
Handful of cilantro, chopped
½ a small red onion, chopped
1 ripe avocado
1 large head of romaine lettuce
1 box salad mix, or 8 ounces of mixed salad greens of your choice
Green Goddess Dressing:
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados
1 rounded Tbls vegan mayo (i like Just Mayo but any kind will work)
1.5 Tbls high quality olive oil
4-8 Tbls water
1 bunch green onions, or scallions
1 bunch cilantro, minus a handful, washed, stems okay
½ basil leaves (optional)
1-2 mild jalepeno peppers
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste (it needs a lot!)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tortillas into ½ inch strips, and place on a baking sheet with a teaspoon of high heat oil and the juice of ¼ a lime. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and toss to combine. Cook for 10 minutes, check, toss, and cook for 2-4 more minutes. Check them often as after 10 minutes they go fast. They should be crispy and brown at the edges.
Make your dressing. Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor. Keep adding water until a thick, salad dressing like consistency is reached. It should be about the consistency of runny yogurt.
Leaving back a small handful of corn, beans and onions, combine quinoa, beans, onions, cilantro, juice of ½ a lime and mix to incorporate evenly.
Plate! Four each of the four servings: Mound a generous serving of greens in a large bowl, and top with 1.5 cups of quinoa vegetable mixture and a small handful of tomtoes. Generously top with the green goddess dressing. Sprinkle some corn, beans, and red onion on top. Then top with ¼ of avocado, in long slices. Add more dressing. Top with a generous shower of baked tortilla strips. Enjoy! AND Feel great after!