It may be the middle of winter (who can tell with temps having been in the 50s), but I’ve been eating salad like a rabbit for a month, now. Due in large part to going wheat free, the canvas of a salad allows me to be creative and eat more healthfully. Mostly I have eaten them for lunches, but some nights have also featured salad on the dinner menu.
Most folks know that salad does not necessarily equal healthy and low-fat/low-calorie. It is certainly easy to top an innocent bed of lettuce with fixings that render the salad as healthy as a Big Mac. The dressing is culprit numero uno in the effort to keep salads healthy, but tossing on fried chicken doesn’t help, either. Another culprit can be the crunchy topping: croutons, nuts, bacon bits. But, being a wheat-free vegetarian with a nut-allergic kiddo, I’m not topping my salad with any of that, anyway.
One way I get to indulge in a crunchy topping is to include tortilla chips. For a southwestern flair to my salad bowl, I add 1/4 cup of beans, half an avocado, jalapenos or some other spicy vegetable (in this picture I had sauteed red bell pepper with garlic and onion in a spicy cumin blend) and a sprinkling of cheese. The dressing for this salad is salsa, of course!
Get Your Greens Salad (aka Git Yer Greens)
Romaine, Arugula, Spinach, Sprouts, Green Onion, Avocado (or not), and any other leafy green you’ve got lying about. Shred it all into a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil, vinegar, crank on a little pepper. Enjoy the best treat your colon’s had all day.
Vegetarian Cobb Salad
Hard boiled egg, Parmesan cheese, avocado, sprouts, and balsamic vinegar with olive oil dressing top lettuce for my vegetarian take on the classic Cobb salad. For the dressing, I drizzle a little oil over the salad, then overtop that with another drizzle of balsamic vinegar, finish with a dash of salt and a few cranks of the pepper grinder. Et, voila! Tasty and oh-so-filling!
On a bed of lettuce, toss a handful or two of dried cranberries and chopped oranges. Alternatively, I like the raisin/apple combo, as well, which also lends itself to the addition of chopped celery. On the rare occasion I’ve brought home pomegranate, I’ll toss on those seeds for a juicy crunch. While oil and vinegar would work just as well here, I have been known to take the time to make a fruity dressing with a fruit juice (orange, apple), oil (vegetable, olive), vinegar (white, apple cider) and an assortment of herbs. Tarragon is fabulous with apples! Sometimes I’ll also toss on a handful of sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds, look for them in the ethnic food aisle at your supermarket).
The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure I’ll be featuring more ideas as the spring brings in a new crop of local greens. I’m even plotting an evil plan to grow salad greens in a south-facing room that is little used.
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Previously with the Night Owl
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