Paleo Meal: Garbage Salad with Salmon, Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, and Shallots

Sometimes you come home from a long day of work, or you come in from a long day of working on the yard, or you wake up a little late in the morning and aren’t sure what to pack for lunch. Usually when that happens to me, I end up eating crackers and other snack food until I’m stuffed, or I pack a quick PB&J with an apple and a granola bar – and the apple usually doesn’t get eaten.

Not super healthy, right?

You know what’s better for you? A salad. Just by mixing your meat and veggies in with a healthy dose of green, leafy vegetables like lettuce or spinach you’re getting a one-two punch of iron and calcium, not to mention fiber. Spinach is also a serious source of sustainable energy for your body.

As a vegetarian, I used to hate salads. I would order them because they’d be the only vegetarian items on the menu, or they were easy to make vegetarian by ordering them without the meat. Any restaurant worth their salt at least tosses the ingredients together when you order a salad, so leaving the meat out is easy. The problem with salads was I’d eat the whole thing and be hungry 20 minutes later. Salads without meat are good and good for you, but they’re not going to fill you up.

Paleo salads, though? Totally filling. Tossing some meat or fish on top of the salad gives you the protein you need to stay full. Also? Yum!

The reason this salad is great for days you don’t want to cook or a quick lunch is because you’re using all of the leftovers from your fridge to make it. This is great for two reasons: 1) It’s super easy and you can make it however you want with whatever you feel like eating, and 2) You probably would have thrown a lot of those leftovers away anyway because you would have forgotten about them in the back of your fridge, or there wasn’t enough of them to make a full mean in and of themselves. Hence, the Garbage Salad.

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Obviously, there was a little work put into this before it became garbage. Unless you want to spend your night worshipping the porcelain gods, you have to cook meat and fish before you eat them, and that takes work. (Not much for this salmon, though. About a pound of salmon brushed with olive oil and put in a glass baking dish, then broiled for 15 minutes. See? Easy.) However, being leftovers, these are obviously things you have already cooked for delicious meals on other nights.

For this meal, I tossed some spinach with some dark green lettuce we got from the farmer’s market. I added cherry tomatoes and sliced shallots (which were already sliced from my turkey meatballs – I sliced too many at the time), and then I cut up the leftover salmon and put it on top. I shook up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of ground mustard, and a minced garlic clove in a mini tupperware container and poured it over the whole thing. That’s it!

You can add any kind of meat to this that you want: grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, cut-up hamburger – it’s all good! Add as many vegetables and fruits as your little heart desires, and top it with some olive oil and vinegar for dressing. Whatever you have on hand! If you want a little more protein, cut up a hard-boiled egg and add it in. For some of those great Omega-3’s, add avocado or a handful of walnuts. The possibilities are endless!

If this isn’t a great reason to keep a head of lettuce or a bag of baby spinach on hand, I don’t know what is.

If you’ve made this one, let me know how it went in the comments!

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