Salad Brain Exercise–Cranberry Beet Orange

by Min Merrell

Salad Brain is a creativity platform.

These exercises use the platter, rather than the typical deep salad bowl, as the canvas for creation and a means to illustrate the universal process of creative thinking and design. No matter the creative field, the steps of creativity are the same. Here we’re using salads because we all have some experience with salad. Salad is a low stakes, easy medium for practicing everyday creativity. Plus, your installation eats will feed you well and shouldn’t we all be eating more salads anyway?


For an introduction to platter salads, read Welcome to Salad Brain Creativity.


Cooked beets–any way you like, roasted, nuked, boiled

Roasted Cranberries

Oranges and Tangerines–slices and sections,

Green Onion slivers



Platteral Thinking

Consider how you want to cut the beets and citrus. These are half circles. The cranberries are sweet, sticky and irregularly shaped. For interest cut the oranges in two different shapes.  The green onions are in long slivers because everything else is round.  l love the green color of the pepitas.  I wish I had some cilantro. How is the salad dressed?  Dousing the beets liberally with vinegar and sugar gives them an easy kick.  A drizzle of olive oil is a plus. No need for extra acid besides the vinegar on the beets as the oranges are sweet and acidic too.  These roasted cranberries are the bomb to have around.  Use them in so many salads to add sparkle during the holiday season. Add them to a cheese platter instead of fig preserves.  We roasted these plain–all you do is throw a bag of cranberries in a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole.  Sprinkle with a cup of sugar.  Roast at 400 F for about 20 minutes.  We’ve done them with jalapeno and onion and apple variations too. Easy.

What if?

Cut the beets into sticks.  Change the proportions–less orange, more red. How about using blood oranges. Maybe some jalapeno. Who needs the arugula. Change the pepitas to pecans, add celery, lose the onion for a more traditional gathering.  Pistachios.

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