Casserole / Salad Bowl Variations*

Casserole / Salad Bowl Variations:


  • There are endless variations, and can be a staple. 
  • Often “rice and beans” are the starting point, but it might be (whole wheat) pasta or wheat berries and beans, potato and beans, or beans by themselves, or maybe just cabbage with no beans.
  • Cole Slaw is a simple version of this: shredded cabbage, carrots, dressing  (maybe with a few beans,  pasta or rice, etc. – or maybe just cabbage, sweet onions and dressing).
  • Everything is optional.  Lately I've been using brown rice, beans, cut-up tomatoes, raw purple onion and some dressing.
  • Cooked corn kernels are a tasty addition.   (Steamed frozen corn kernels).
  • Starch is a comfort food.  Although there's a myth that all "carbs" are unhealthy, unprocessed carbohydrates (starches) are perfectly healthy like brown rice or wheat-berries.  Some health authorities believe that potatoes are not completely healthy even though they're unprocessed.  However potatoes have a relatively low calorie density and can be a gratifying ingredient that may support an overall healthy plant-based diet. Sweet potatoes have more fiber.  I'm not sure what health category corn falls in, another delicious unprocessed starch.  Whole wheat pasta is highly processed but healthier than white pasta, and a little goes a long way.  
  • Tomatoes pieces.
  • Raw onions (purple, or Vidalia “sweet” onions) are among my favorite added veggies.
  • Cooked (yellow) onions, if you're careful not to over-cook, they should still be crunchy.  Recommend frying for one or two minutes on one side in a non-stick pan, without stirring, until brown on one side.  With experience you can use your stop-watch to avoid stirring.  
  • Steamed veggie pieces like broccoli, squash, etc.
  • chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Sliced mushrooms sautéed in advance.
  • Greens!   Shredded or chopped raw greens: cabbage, collard greens, kale, etc. makes this much healthier!  Can be lightly cooked or raw.  Cabbage is especially good raw;   Raw dark green leafy vegetables can be bitter if quantities are large, but smaller quantities are delicious. 
    If they are very briefly cooked the bitterness disappears.  
  • Crunch!   If you can find a reliably sweet onion.  Vidalia onions might be "sweet" enough to eat raw, it may depend on the quantity and size of the pieces.  Cipollini onions are quite sweet (but a little pricey and small);  purple onions can reliably be eaten raw;  be careful not to overdo the quantity of any raw sweet onion.  Carrots or water chestnuts also great for crunch.   
  • Nuts and/or raisins to the rescue.  As a beginner it is possible that you will not be quite satisfied with your creation.  Rescue it with nuts and raisins, which make any dish more delicious.  Cut-up apples have the same effect (and in theory healthier than dried fruit which is calorie-dense).  Avocado can add deliciousness. Likewise with avocado or raisins, also calorie dense – but delicious.
  • This type of dish can be so delicious that salt or oil is not needed.  However, it is undeniable that these ingredients can liven up flavor, and a little goes a long way.  
  • Spices I like are ground pepper, possibly dried thyme, and dried mint!  (Believe it or not, dried mint works very well - try it!)
  • It's important to keep cooked basic on hand in the freezer such as beans (purchased dry in bulk), brown rice, or wheat berries e.g. Make large quantities and freeze in 2-cup Pyrex containers.  

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responded with submitted 2020-12-26 09:37:10 -0500