Category Archives: Salads

Build a Better Salad

Build A Better Salad

We love salads…BIG salads. Whole meal salads are what I’m referring to here. These are complete meals in a bowl and not just with a little lettuce, tomato and cheese. These salads are filled with assorted vegetables, protein sources, and fruit. What’s even better is the fact that they are totally flexible in what is put in them, so they can be tailored to individual likes and dislikes as well as what’s available at the moment. These salads are better (to us) than any salad we can get in a restaurant because they’re made the way WE like them, with ingredients WE prefer! You too can build a better salad, YOUR way. The following are the basics of how I build a better salad…

Start with a lettuce bed of mixed greens. Use a mixture of assorted greens as the foundation of your salad. Use whatever you can get and mix them up…iceberg, Romaine, green and/or red leaf lettuces, arugula, baby kale, spring mix, spinach, red or green cabbage, etc. Get creative!

Add a big assortment of fresh veggies. Again, get creative. Use what you have available to you and don’t be afraid to try something new. Suggestions include: cucumber, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini squash, celery, red, green, and/or yellow bell pepper, fresh broccoli and/or cauliflower, lightly steamed (and cooled) asparagus, jicama, red or yellow onion, scallions, chives, minced garlic, lightly steamed (and cooled) green beans, roasted (and cooled) Brussels sprouts… Explore the produce isle of your favorite grocery store and let your imagine run wild!

Add a protein source (or two…or three). I always add thawed frozen green peas to our salads. They make a nice addition to any green salad and are packed full of protein. They’re for starters. From there, I add garbanzo beans (to my salad), diced cheese, assorted nuts of choice, and sometimes sliced hard boiled egg. If you’re a fan of meats in your salads, thinly sliced grilled steak or chicken breast would be a flavorful addition. Grilled salmon would be a prized addition, too. Whether you add meat or not, there are plenty of options to choose from so that your salad will provide enough protein to meet anyone’s needs.

Build a Better Salad

Build a Better Salad

Add fruit for color, sweetness and eye candy. We started adding fruit to our meal salads after my husband returned from a trip to Hawaii with his college jazz band. He found that restaurants there added fruit to their salads and he really enjoyed it. Thanks Hawaii! Good fruits to include are fresh or canned pineapple, chopped fresh apple, blueberries, strawberries, tangerine (Clementine) sections, grapes (seedless would be preferred). Even diced pear would make a good addition! Try fresh raspberries for added sweet/tang!

Dress your salad…but don’t overdo it. Dressings are added to salads for flavor, moisture and binding properties. The problem with dressings is that many people simply add too much. This can make salads unhealthful to eat. The veggies and fruit are not the culprits. It’s the dressing. The above salad suggestions would go well with just about any dressing you choose. Just strive to go light on the dressing and still enjoy the wonderful flavors of the vegetables, fruits, and protein foods you used to construct your meal. If you can’t taste the other components, then you have too much dressing. Make it your goal to avoid using too much dressing. This will keep your salads healthful and calorie-controlled.

We usually use oil and vinegar as our salad dressing. The ratio will vary according to individual tastes, but a general rule of thumb is 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. A lot of flavor variation can be obtained by using different vinegars at different times: red wine, apple cider, tarragon, raspberry, and rice vinegars all lend different flavors to a salad, so experiment. Added herbs can also bring a new flavor to your salad. Suggestions include: oregano, dill, parsley, and tarragon (used individually, not all in the same salad). Get creative!

Here’s a video showing the construction of the salads in the featured photo. Enjoy! Judi

 

Marinated Cruciferous Salad

Marinated Cruciferous Salad (Recipe)

As mentioned in my video about cruciferous vegetables, we ALL should eat these vegetables whenever we can. Raw or slightly cooked is best.

Below is a VERY simple salad recipe of mine using cruciferous vegetables marinated in an oil/vinegar dressing. The recipe can EASILY be varied to meet your family’s tastes and it can be increased or decreased with little effort beyond cutting the vegetables. Make this easy and use the cruciferous vegetables you have on hand!

Check out the video below the recipe, showing how this salad is made. Enjoy!! Judi

Marinated Cruciferous Salad
Makes about 2 Cups

2 cups chopped cruciferous vegetables of choice*
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar**
3 pinches sea salt
1 to 2 pinches dried oregano***
1 pinch dried granulated garlic

Place vegetables and onion in a medium size bowl. Add the dressing ingredients. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Toss again and serve.

Note the MANY possible variations with this salad:

* Use any combination of cruciferous vegetables you want. Suggestions include: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (of any sort), radishes, arugula, kale, broccoli rabe, watercress, and/or bok choy

** To vary the flavor, lemon juice may be used in place of apple cider vinegar

*** In place of oregano, other herbs may be used such as: basil, dill, sage, cumin, marjoram, parsley, or thyme

Experiment and try different combinations to find your favorite!

 

Easily Cut Bell Peppers (no waste, little mess)

Food to me is sacred. After all, we can’t live without it, right? Also, grocery prices have slowly gone up to the point that food runs are getting almost out of sight. It’s downright expensive. So with that, I can’t stand to waste anything! Nothing!! If I can find a use for some morsel of food, I try to save it if I possibly can.

I love to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bell peppers are on my “regular” list of groceries to buy. However, they’re pretty expensive considering how much you get out of one little pepper. So, it’s best not to waste any of it, if at all possible.

I found a way to easily cut bell peppers with NO waste and very little, if any mess from the seeds going all over the place. I demonstrated how to cut them in a YouTube video recently. It’s short and to the point. Anyone can cut a pepper this way and there TRULY is no waste of any edible part of the pepper. Give it a try when you can and let me know your comments!

Happy eating!
Judi

Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

I absolutely love salads…yep, salads of just about any kind. My favorite place to be in the grocery store is the produce department! My favorite place to eat out is any restaurant with a big salad bar. Three bean salad is one that I always opt for, squeezing room for it on my already full plate of assorted salads.

Here’s a simple recipe for Three Bean Salad that I made in my bakery/bistro to have available during lunch time. It’s fast to make with very little effort. Check out my YouTube video below. Enjoy! Judi