Salad Brain Exercise–Avocado Simple

by Min Merrell

A simple wooden platter of chopped avocado, thin rounds of onion, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes.  You don’t need fancy ingredients to create a masterpiece.

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 field, the steps of creativity are the same. Here we’re using salads because we all have some experience with salad, a low stakes, easy medium for practicing everyday creativity. Plus, your installation eats will feed you beautifully and well and shouldn’t we all be eating more salads anyway?


For an introduction to platter salads, read Welcome to Salad Brain Creativity.  Let’s play around ingredients–taste, shape, size, and color.



Mexican green onions

Hot peppers–jalapenos and serranos

Chopped tomato

Fresh cilantro


First, ask yourself what is the purpose of this salad? What are the parameters? I needed a salad to serve with New Year’s Day black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread. No need for a rich dressing since the salad would be working as a garnish for the rest of the meal. Mexican green onions slice so beautifully in cute little rounds with a mandoline and can be separated into different sizes of rings. The winter Roma tomatoes from the Mexican market make an extra nice meaty dice. Add as much hot pepper as you like. Sprinkle with salt and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. Instead of piling it all in a bowl salsa style, spread it out on the platter.  Overlap some of the ingredients, but let some areas be pure. An old wooden plate looked rustic and casually inviting.


Slice the tomatoes. Use other colors of tomatoes. Add some cherry tomatoes.  Cut them in rounds. Keep some whole. Add interest Mash the avocado if it’s very ripe and can’t be chunked. Use other kinds and colors of onion. Cut the green onion in slivers. Add pepitas. Add a sprinkling of robust chili powder.  Crisp bacon.

Here’s the avocado platter salad in action!

Do you know how to make real southern cornbread?  You do now!  Make it thin and crisp.

How about those black-eyed peas?  Get out the crockpot and don’t presoak them!

How about those turnip greens?


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