When I first got married, I had two recipes in my arsenal: Morningstar salad and a tuna/black bean/corn/avocado stir fry.

I know, and you’re right, it’s exactly as weird as it sounds. I was such a novice in the kitchen, getting by in college on those two meals (and cafeteria money) — and if I was lucky, my roommates would cook something more interesting and I would get to join! Yet, I must have sensed a change coming. The amount of cooking utensils and kitchen gadgets I put on my wedding registry perfectly suits the aspiring chef I am today — but definitely not my style back then.

Anyway, I digress — back to college. Sophomore year was the first year I lived in an apartment with a kitchen and without a cafeteria meal plan. I started off the year on an intense diet after gaining the freshman fifteen from the all-you-can-eat Kosher Cafe at NYU. A couple of months into my diet and many pounds shed, I realized I wasn’t going about loosing weight in the most healthy way — I needed to find a productive way to incorporate carbs and some other things I had cut out back into my life.

I was living above a Trader Joe’s (which I sadly didn’t appreciate enough at the time) and decided to go see if I could find some inspiration for something simple I could make for myself. I remember waiting in line for an hour (pretty typical, as any frequenter of TJ’s in Manhattan can attest) and leaving with their classic spring mix, a long english cucumber, an avocado, a beautifully red bell pepper, one purple onion and what I was soon going to discover as the best feta cheese ever. I knew I wanted to add protein to my salad, but anything that took even the slightest effort was out of the question, so I went to the Food Emporium across the street and picked up a box of MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings.

 

I returned home, chopped up my salad ingredients, and put it in a large bowl with crumbled feta cheese. I microwaved the buffalo wings before adding them in as well. I then realized I had completely overlooked an essential salad ingredient — dressing! I looked in the fridge to see what my roommates had on hand and I remember seeing a store-bought Italian dressing. Since that was not my cup of tea, I decided to be adventurous and look through our oils and vinegar to see what I could come up with myself. I just picked a few things to see what would happen! I reached for the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey, and my life was forever changed. To this day I cannot explain what made me think of that combination, but it just worked. This first success quickly became not just a staple but something I would actually crave. Even now I will occasionally return to my roots when the situation calls for it!

When we made Aliya I was really missed both the convenience and deliciousness of MorningStar, and Shnitzel Tiras (corn shnitzel) just doesn’t do it for me. So when we went back to New York a few months ago, I brought back several Morningstar packages in our luggage. Yes, my husband thought I was insane too.

Now that I have this salad back in my arsenal, I like to change it up each time I make it. Sometimes I’ll add pomegranate seeds for some crunch, or switch out the feta for goat cheese. Just recently, I made a dressing inspired by my original but infused with passion fruit, and it was out of this world. I think I’ll always continue to adapt and play around with my original meal. So, I will post a recipe card for the basic version of this Everything Salad, as well as all the variants I that I’ve enjoyed over the years including my new passionfruit dressing — lucky I remembered to write down the recipe!

Print Recipe
Morningstar Salad
Instructions
  1. There is no exact recipe for this beauty! Do what feels right for you and adjust everything to your taste. Don't forget you can always add more so start with less and build on it!

 

Print Recipe
Passionfruit Vinaigrette
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk everything together.
Recipe Notes

Use this dressing for the Morningstar salad.

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