I Love Salad Love

Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savory, and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day, by David Bez, (Clarkson Potter, Random House), 304 pages, released 24 February, 2015

David Bez’s Salad Love is one of those wonderful cookbooks that not only provide delicious recipes, but also include adaptions and variations to meet a variety of dietary practices. It is also designed to encourage play and improvisation. Bez’s entry into the world of salads was sparked by a desire to eat more vegetables and fruits. Several years ago, he challenged himself to eat salad for lunch at work each day—and to create a new recipe with each salad. This practice led to the creation of his blog, Salad Pride. Now he’s gathered his favorite salads in this book.

Many of his combinations are new (sometimes surprising), and they all sound delicious. Yellow Pepper, Broccoli, Chile, and Coconut Cream. Oak-Smoked Cheddar, Peaches, and Blueberries. Fennel, Blue Cheese, and Pistachios. Pecorino, Black Grapes, and Pine Nuts. Yummmmm.

In addition to the inherent deliciosity of the recipes, I have a number of other reasons for loving Salad Love.

• Variety. Bez classifies each recipe as raw, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore and provides a good balance of all of these. Whatever your dietary practices, with 260 recipes, there will be plenty tailored to your needs.

• More variety. While each recipe is assigned to one of Bez’s five categories, each recipe contains suggestions for transforming the recipe to make it suitable for another category. He’ll show you how to go from pescatarian to raw, from vegan to omnivore, all sorts of transformations. What this means is that you have not only 260 recipes, but also 260 clearly described alternatives.

• Pictures! This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. 280 of its 304 pages feature large color photographs, so you don’t have to guess about how a recipe will actually look once you’ve put the time into making it. The colors, textures, and patterns in these salads make for mouth-watering browsing.

• Simplicity. Each of these recipes can be put together in twenty minutes or less—and most of them are the “or less” type. Yes, you can make these salads at work and still have enough of a lunch break left to eat them. In my own case, I’m thinking of these as go-to recipes when I have to put a dinner together after a long day at work.

• Flexibility. The recipes are for generous single-serving salads. If you want to use them as a side, one salad will feed two. If you want them as a main course, just multiply the ingredient lists by the number of people you’re planning to feed.

If you’re trying (like Bez) to eat more fruits and vegetables or you’re just hoping to put a pleasing meal together without sacrificing an hour or more of your time, this is a book worth having.