Add some crunch to your salad or, alternatively titled, an ode to walnuts

I eat a lot of salad. This is a new addition to my culinary life in the last year or two. I just never knew the wonders of a salad before. It’s so versatile. Just take some greens and throw whatever you have on it! My two favorite parts of salad: croutons and avocado. I recently found a replace for both: walnuts.

First, croutons, so delicious but surprisingly expensive. They cost something like $10 a pound! That’s more than some nuts cost…which got me thinking. Why do I like croutons? One of the obviously answers is the crunchiness they add. Of course, the salty/cheesey/whatever-y flavor they add it great too, but primarily I like the crunchiness. They have very little nutritional value so recently I decided to buy nuts instead of croutons. For the same price as a bag of croutons, I bought enough walnuts to make a week’s worth of salads (no, I didn’t measure…it’s just happened to work out right) and instead of the nothingness that is croutons, I’m getting a good serving of protein, fiber, and fat to keep me fuller. Oh yeah, and a delicious richness that croutons don’t add.

For as long as I’ve been making salads I’ve been adding avocado but 1) they’re expensive, and 2) it’s hard to buy them for a week and have them consistently be the perfect ripeness (I’m trying to be better about meal planning and only going to the store once a week). Walnuts take care of those problems! I love adding avocado because they’re delicious but, more importantly, the fat and calories keep me fuller longer. Why not leave that job to walnuts?

I prefer eating produce that is in season and local so my salads change quite a bit throughout the year. Some things I’m loving adding to salads these days: roasted squash (butternut or acorn), roasted sweet potatoes, beets, fall greens like spinach and arugula. Sadly, we only have two more weeks of CSA and then we’ll have to wait until April for more. :-(