Okay, I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a salad nut. And salads always just seem perfect on the boat. Fresh and crunchy, they’re a delicious accompaniment to many dishes, yet can stand on their own for a lighter meal on a hot day.
Got kids or grandkids aboard? Making salad is a great way for them to help with the meal – the young ones can add cut up veggies to the bowl and help toss the salad, the older ones can mix the dressing and cut up the veggies. If they’re too young to help with things like cooking bacon, I either precook it myself or buy it precooked, so that all they have to do is crumble it up – always a favorite activity that usually involves some tasting!
8-Hour Salad has always been a favorite, but it wasn’t until we began boating that I realized just how versatile it was. Want to make a salad at home and take it to the boat for dinner the first night? Check. Having dinner guests and want to get things done before they arrive? Check. Need a salad that can survive a day in a cooler? Check. Going to a potluck? Great for that too. And if the kids helped make it? They’ll be looking forward to eating it.
Not only does this salad taste great made according to the recipe, it also lends itself to substitutions according to what’s available. Lettuce can be tough to carry for any length of time, but cabbage lasts almost forever and is also tasty in this salad. Substitute a drained can of corn or peas for the cauliflower if fresh veggies are hard to come by. If someone is allergic to cheese, make a small bowl of salad for them and leave the Parmesan out of the dressing. Similarly, the bacon can be left off a portion for vegetarians or those who don’t eat pork.
While it’s called 8-Hour Salad, I’ve made it up to a day and a half before serving. And more times than I care to admit, I’ve just tossed it with the dressing and served it immediately.
A few notes on keeping the salad low carb (I’m diabetic and all these little tips for ensuring carb counts are important to me):
- All the veggies contain carbs; portion control and carefully measuring ingredients are key.
- Green onions contain substantially fewer carbs than white or yellow onions.
- Tomatoes will spike most people’s blood sugar if more than just a slice is consumed. Measure the amount used!
- Duke’s mayonnaise does not contain sugar (or any sugar substitutes); every other brand of mayonnaise and salad dressings such as Miracle Whip do. Duke’s is available in most grocery stores and on Amazon.
- Allulose is a rare sugar refined from regular sugar. It does not have a funny aftertaste and, since it is not metabolized, does not affect blood sugar. I like it much, much better than any other sugar substitute I’ve tried. The only place I’ve found to buy it is on Amazon. It’s not cheap but since I don’t use much in any dish it lasts a long time.
- Most bacon is sugar-cured. You can find uncured bacon if you look for it; this is much better for my blood sugar, other people may not see as dramatic a difference.
Great make-ahead salad with your favorite greens, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes and bacon. Can be served immediately, too. Check the notes for dairy-free and meatless versions. Only 5g carbs (4g net).
Place the lettuce on the bottom of a medium bowl, then layer the cauliflower, broccoli, and green onion. Don't fill the bowl more than two-thirds full as you need room to toss the salad. A plastic bowl with a locking lid is perfect for this recipe, particularly if you will be taking it somewhere.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and Allulose to make a dressing. Spread the mixture over the onion layer in the bowl, being sure to seal the edges of the salad.
- Fry the bacon until crisp, then drain on a paper towel. Crumble it on top of dressing.
Tightly cover the bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Add tomatoes and mix well just before serving.
Pressed for time? This recipe is called 8-Hour Salad and as such it's great to make ahead, whether to take somewhere or just get some prep out of the way. But there is nothing that says it has to refrigerate for eight hours. I've made it and served immediately many times and it tasted exactly the same!
Gluten-free: the recipe is naturally gluten-free.
Dairy-free: omit cheese in dressing.
Vegetarian: omit the bacon.
Not low carb: use any brand of mayonnaise and real sugar. Can increase tomatoes to 1 cup if desired. May use chopped white or yellow onions (up to 1/2 cup) instead of green onions.