This salad saved my life.
Weeelll…maybe it’s not as dramatic as that, but it definitely DID help to fill a sad void in my life. Let me explain…About three years ago, after basically an accidental overdose on chemical pesticides sprayed on the backyard vegetable garden, my body started freaking out. We had no idea what we were doing…it was our first year planting a vegetable garden, and we got a TON of bugs eating up our plants! So we bought some of your average, chemical bug killer at the store, and liberally sprayed down those plants. It sure took care of the bugs! But then, after eating those vegetables from our garden for a little while, my body decided it had had enough poison, and I started getting really sick. At the time, I had no idea it was coming from our own garden, and it took me 5-6 months to actually figure out what the problem was: I had become allergic to the chemicals used in pesticide. Untreated for all those months, this one allergy somersaulted into multiple other food intolerances, one of which was gluten. When I found out that my body would no longer allow me to eat any fruits or vegetables containing chemical pesticides, and that I could not eat anything containing gluten any more, I felt like I was being crushed underneath a ton of bricks. See, it wasn’t simply the giving up of certain foods that made the realization so difficult for me; it was the fact that I now basically had to give up going out with friends, eating at people’s homes for dinner, parties, going on dates with Nate to our favorite restaurants….I mean, how many people and restaurants serve everything-organic/gluten free foods?? It was hard then, and it’s still a challenge now, almost three years later! (We’ve since then discovered a couple places we’re able to still go out to, so I am VERY thankful for those!!)
When we first got married, Nate and my go-to date night place was Paradise Bakery. It was just down the road from our house, and we could go and have a date for $15! It was fantastic! And oh my goodness, I am just in love their Turkey Cranberry Sandwich on that amazing molasses bread…oh my word, that bread is simply delish! And whoever thought of the turkey/cranberry combo, should get a reward in my mind, because from Thanksgiving to Paradise Bakery sandwiches, that flavor combo is a winner, every stinkin time!
I guess I still COULD go ahead and eat at those places, but then I would have to face the week following my meal in constant pain and nausea, living in bed or the bathroom, just feeling like my inside were being completely torn to shreds. Yelch. Yeeaahh…I’m going to go for skipping out on those foods.
So out of desperation for that amazing Turkey Cranberry Sandwich, I created this salad. It seemed like blasphemy to try a turkey cranberry sandwich using regular gluten free bread…don’t get me wrong, I’ve finally found a kind of bread that I like to eat, but it’s never ever going to compare to that delicious molasses bread at Paradise Bakery! (ps-if you’ve found a way to create gluten free molasses bread that’s just as good as those dark fluffy loaves they’ve got at the restaurant, let me know IMMEDIATELY!!! And then I will be your best friend and indebted to you for life!!) Instead, I used that ever-winning turkey/cranberry flavor combo, and simply put those ingredients in a bowl instead of on bread. And oh my goodness, it’s a winner!
I make this salad for lunch at least once a week, and it’s so easy to pack along in a cooler lunchbox for work! To keep those salad greens crisp, just store them in a separate container from the tomatoes and turkey, and I like to bring the dressing in a tiny Tupperware container, to drizzle on top when I’m ready to eat so everything stays fresh! (No soggy salads allowed!) I am so thankful I’m still able to enjoy things like this salad, and with every bite of turkey cranberry goodness, I can look back and smile at the amazing times Nate and I did have over sandwiches at Paradise Bakery, and then look forward to the new fun experiences we can share in the years to come on our all-organic/gluten-free date nights!
- 3-4 cups salad greens
- 4 ounces deli turkey
- 1 medium tomato
- 3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
- Chop or tear salad greens into bite-sized pieces, if needed.
- Cut turkey into bite-sized pieces (I use a pizza cutter to quickly cut mine up).
- Wash and dice tomato.
- Combine greens, turkey, tomatoes, and cranberries in a large bowl. Drizzle raspberry vinaigrette over salad ingredients and toss.