Not your mama’s salad

January 12, 2016

Most of us have been on diets where we ate lots and lots of salad – endless bowls of lettuce & tomato, with a little onion or cucumber, if you were lucky. As a result, salads got a bad rap for a while. But I’m here to tell you that they’re back – And they are fabulous! 

Last year, I purchased a salad chopper. If you’ve ever ordered a salad from Subway, you’ll have seen one in action. A chopped salad is much easier to eat. And, you can eat all sorts of vegetables, even the ones you dislike. You won’t even know they’re in there! I have never 

Limed cucumbers, for example, but eat them all the time now! I served a salad full of chopped bell peppers to a friend who won’t eat peppers and she loved it. 

I like to start with lettuce – a combination of iceberg and romaine. Iceberg also gets a bad rap for being mostly water. But I like the crunchiness of it. I add shredded carrots, tomatoes, red onion, summer squash, zucchini, any color bell pepper, broccoli, edamame, radishes, beets…. The possibilities are endless. My husband likes mushrooms and alfalfa sprouts. I found marinated mushrooms that are mostly vinegar with no oil – they are delicious! I also add some pepperoncini rings and a little fat free feta cheese.

Make sure you add some lean protein – sliced turkey, tuna (packed in water) or black beans are among my favorites. This is what makes a salad filling and keeps you from feeling hungry again soon after you eat it.

What a great way to get half the day’s vegetables and fiber! I try to eat a big salad everyday for lunch. The biggest decision is… dressing! Those creamy Italians and blue cheeses are so good, but full of saturated fat. Vinaigrettes are a better choice, but can contain lots of sugar. But, wait! Remember yesterday’s blog about olive oil? Yes! You can get your fiber and your healthy fats, in one meal!!

Try eating a big salad for lunch a couple of times a week. They’re convenient to get in most restaurants or for take-out, if that’s how you spend your lunch hour. Just be aware of hidden fat, like bacon and croutons. But even if you eat some of them, you’re still getting your veggies! I usually take my olive oil with me. If you ask for oil & vinegar at a restaurant, it’s usually not olive oil – other vegetable oils are much cheaper and do not have the same health benefits. The best you can hope for is an “olive oil blend,” which is probably corn oil with a splash of olive added.

Here’s a nice recipe from Rose. I can’t wait to try it! 

El Morocco salad dressing
Just olive oil, lemon juice, dried mint and a bit of salt and pepper. Add all the ingredients right onto the salad and let everything sit for an hour or so. The secret is to have the chopped tomatoes as the top layer of the salad veggies: Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper and then add the mint, olive oil, and lemon juice, in that order. Allow it to sit for a while and then toss it all together, right before serving.

Here’s my lunch today. I’m away on another writer’s retreat and brought all the ingredients with me, to assemble before lunchtime!


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