Ok, I'm in the blogging mood today so bare with me here.
Have you ever wanted to create a gourmet looking salad on a budget for lunch at work? Ever wonder what it took to make that salad that you buy from Corner Bakery, Salad Creations or maybe even some sit down place? Well it is cheaper then you think, just look at the amounts I spent last weekend to create my lunch I have had the Monday and Tuesday.
Read leaf lettuce - $1/bunch
Roma tomatoes: $0.10/each
Fresh mozzarella: $2.50/8oz ball
Fresh baby bella mushrooms: $2.50/container (do not remember the weight but it is the larger of the 2)
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil I have had for awhile, but you can get them for about $7/balsamic and $5/EVOO.
Basil: $2/bunch at the farmers market, $2.99/plant or you can spend about $3.99 for the organic bunch at Dominick's
Most of my shopping occurs at the Devon Market on Devon and Greenwood in Rogers Park since it is a short bus ride from where I live. These were the prices i paid for the items that I used in the attached photo of my lunch on Monday. The difference I made on tuesday is I added some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and some basil that i rolled and cut into strips then sprinkled over the lettuce mixture to give it a different flavor all together. This can easily be done at most fruit markets if you have the time and you can create so many different varieties of the same dish just by adding some protein, changing the dressing, maybe the cheese, or even adding some other herbs like fresh Rosemary, Oregano, etc.
The above grocery list is more then enough ingredients to make a salad for lunch for the work week. So far I am on day 3 but I have leftovers from dinner last night, so I might make a small salad as a side to go with it.
Salads should be fun and lively, not boring and chopped. Get out there and try making one today. The approximate time to clean, dice, slice, and shred was about 15 minutes so the prep time is minimum when you have an hour to kill for lunch. Salads are great for the summer and really are good for you in the long run with moderation on the cheese and some proteins.