The Half Plate Method at Work

I enjoy salads.  I do.  Sometimes I feel as if salad-eating is a prerequisite to being a dietitian.  But after a while, salads get boring.  To ensure I don’t slack on my salad loving, I desperately try to come up with ways to improve the salad eating experience.
When I try to develop ways to improve my home cooking, I often think about meals I eat in restaurants.  What is different about how they make food, and how can I replicate that?  Salads are an excellent example of this discrepancy: I feel that restaurant salads always taste significantly tastier than any salad I make at home.

One technique restaurants use that I have picked up on is using cooked vegetables on top of their lettuce.  Roasted vegetables are easy enough.  I absolutely adore their soft, complex flavors.  So why not add them to some lettuce and call it a salad?

Onions, quartered, tossed in whatever Italian herbs moved me that night.

I thought that white (onions) atop green (lettuce) would be too bland in color, so some sliced baby carrots were thrown into the mix.

Slicing baby carrots in half helps them roast faster.

While these were roasting, I was deciding on a protein to round out the meal.  We recntly bought some organic andouille chicken sausages. . . perfect.  They’re mostly cooked, just throw on the cast iron to reheat and get a little crispy.

Steam = Scent we will smell the entire night all throughout the house.

And with the onions and carrots out of the oven, the sausages browned and smelling sensational, and some Israeli couscous that was cooking in the background . . . I suddenly realize that my meal is a shining example of the half plate method!  Quarter protein, quarter starch, half vegetables, I fulfilled these recommendations without giving them a thought.

Health at it's finest!

Takeaway lessons from the meal are as follows.

  • Take note of restaurant techniques you can use to bump up the at-home dish variety.
  • Plan your meal around vegetables, and the rest will fall into place.
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