Posted by: thehungryrunner | May 21, 2008

The 3-ingredient Salad: Delicious, quick and that darn “h” word

It’s interesting how two seemingly different pursuits can wind up converging to bring the same conclusion.  In my case, for the last few years I have been cultivating an active interest in cooking and appreciating the art of enjoying truly good food, concurrent to my ongoing interests in healthy eating and nutrition.  And as I have discovered, sometimes these two worlds are themselves worlds apart.  No matter how much you reframe it, prosciutto and mascarpone will never be “health” foods, even if they are of the finest quality and deserve at least the occasional place in the Hungry Runner’s menu.  And no matter how great their virtues, there are certain foods (whey protein powder comes to mind) that will forever remain functional, never to go gourmet.  Oh well.  More evidence that eating is as much art as science.  Balance, moderation, a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  Nothing we all don’t already know.

But thankfully, sometimes the world of good eats and the world of healthy nutrition do overlap, and the 3-ingredient salad is a great example of this.  Growing up, I was more familar with salads that had just about everything but the kitchen sink in them, be it a healthful melange of bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, green beans, lettuce (usually iceberg), tomato, onion, zucchini, etc….or a stomach-churning sampler from the WeHaveEverything salad bar, including scoops of tuna salad, macaroni salad, jello, cottage cheese, canned peaches, and some croutons for good measure.  I won’t even get into the subject of salad dressing!

Little wonder, though, why the thought of making a salad can sometimes leave a person…uninspired.  We’re either too time-pressed to do that kind of prep work or just aren’t in the mood to bombard our taste buds (or digestive tracts) with so many ingredients.  Enter, the 3-ingredient masterpiece, the perfect solution to weight-friendly eating that satisfies the palate, offers great nutritional benefits, and is quick and easy to prepare.

By limiting your salad to three ingredients, you can better concentrate on the individual, simple flavors and textures of each, and often choose ingredients that offer complementary nutritional components as well.

Some examples, though no doubt you can come up with many of your own:

  • Fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sliced fresh basil
  • Grated carrot, spoonful of peanut butter, canned (juice pack) pineapple chunks (mix all three ingredients well)
  • Sliced green pepper, sliced yellow pepper, sliced roasted red peppers from a jar, including some of the liquid
  • Fresh baby greens, dry cranberries, low-fat cottage cheese
  • Sliced fresh mellow/sweet apple (such as Fuji), sliced fresh tart apple (such as Pink Lady), fresh lime juice (let stand for an hour to allow the flavors to merge)
  • Sliced banana, sliced mango, roasted sunflower seeds
  • Fresh greens, drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkling of sea salt
  • Drained water-pack tuna, dill pickle relish, sliced cucumber
  • Fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries, vanilla yogurt


Are your creative juices flowing?  The possibilities are endless — and all of them delicious!



  1. […] With thanks to the Hungry Runner. […]

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