Ultimate Mixed Vegetable Salad

This salad is put together like you would assemble a salad at a salad bar, a little of this and a handful of that. It reminds me of a trip I took a long time back with my Dad to Mumbai, India. It was a work trip to Gujarat via Mumbai and I had tagged along. In Mumbai we visited a new pizza place and they had a salad bar. I was in school then and had never seen a self serve salad bar before. I took my time choosing the ingredients and I loved it. When my daughter was little I frequently took her to the local salad place. Luckily she is not a picky eater and enjoyed the salad. I remember when she was five an elderly lady from the next table commented on how she and her husband were pleasantly surprised to see a little girl enjoying her vegetables. As a family we enjoy salads and love salads as lunch especially in the hot summer months.

I have been working on salads as meal substitutes for a while. I started with 4-5 ingredients and worked my way up. With my earlier efforts my daughter usually got hungry in a couple of hours. Which meant the salad was more a side than a meal substitute. Given the number of people in the house it is hard to keep a wide variety of ingredients. Finally I believe I have the ultimate mixed vegetable salad. With this salad I have reached my goal of a satisfying meal. It is great as packed lunch as it keeps you feeling full for a long time. If you have a child who loves vegetables and fruits you have to try this.

This is a complete meal in every sense. It is very nutritious and has a good mix of all the major food groups. The beans, broccoli and greens provide the protein. There is no oil but there are healthy fats in the avocado and the sunflower/sesame seeds. Vitamins and minerals in the colorful vegetables. And a healthy carb content. You could add cooked grain groats to increase the carbs if you like. This is our everyday lunch salad.

You will need (2 servings)
1 cup cooked Garbanzo beans or any beans of your choice
a handful each of 2-3 different greens, I used baby spinach, baby kale and baby arugula
a variety of vegetables, diced
at least 1 fruit, I used a pear, apple works well too
2 mushrooms, diced (optional)
1/2 avocado, diced (optional)

juice of 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper to taste
red chili pepper powder to taste (I skip it)

1 tbsp. sunflower seeds, raw and unsalted
1 tsp. while sesame seeds
1 tsp. black sesame seeds

If you are using dry beans, soak them overnight and pressure cook them until tender. Alternately, use canned beans. These are the ingredients I used today. Please note: the quantity of the vegetables shown here is not the quantity used in the recipe. I used only a handful of each of the vegetables.

I dice all the vegetables over the weekend and store it in the refrigerator. I pick and choose quantities of each as needed. The greens, onion, mushroom and fruit I dice as needed as they do not store well when diced.

Cooking vegetables: Diced mushrooms (if using), onions (can be left raw but I prefer them cooked), zucchini, greens beans (I did not use them today), and colored bell peppers. In a pan heat a little water and cook a handful of each of the vegetables. Cooking in water retains color and flavor without an oily coating.

Turn off heat and let them cool. You want the vegetables to be cooked but not mushy. They should retain their shape.

In a large bowl add the beans, avocado, raw vegetables like carrots, broccoli, fruit like pear or apple, the cooked vegetables and the greens.

Add the toppings like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, slivered almonds or any seeds or nuts of your choice. Squeeze the juice of half a lime. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Mix it all up and let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes. The salad is ready.



  1. wowww! indeed a salad bar!! what a lovely selection of veggies! beautiful!

  2. Very nice reading about your memories about a salad bar. Its really fantastic that your daughter has always loved all the veggies, wish mine were like that. This one surely sounds so good, wish we get those baby green leaves, I would surely want to try this for myself!

  3. Though I don't think I can have salad as a meal substitute, this one does look nutritious and inviting. Would love to try this!!

  4. Wow!!!this salad looks amazing and colorful..

  5. That's great that your daughter too loves veggies...lucky mom. This is indeed a filling salad with garbanzo beans and all other ingredients

  6. Your salad bar rocks ! What a lovely salad and I like the idea of chopping veggies over the weekend , but here in India it really doesn’t work .

  7. That is definitely a balanced meal for lunch

  8. Colourful and quite a nutritious salad i must say. This salad itself a complete meal. I doesnt anything more to satisfy my hungry tummy.

  9. This salad looks so tempting varada. Having so many veggies with beans is just waht I want in salad.

  10. Looks so healthy and nutritious for everyone.

  11. I have never been to a salad bar, but I really would love to visit after reading your experience. The salad is so colourful and a perfect filling meal..

  12. Your salad of chopped vegetables and fruits can beat the ones from salad bars. If my girls wound eat all the veggies I could have make it twice in a week. But I guess I can make it for adults.


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