I had a FAB-U-LOUS salad for dinner tonight. No pics, because it was roasted beet salad, and some of you people don’t like beets. I have a hard time eating salad in cold weather. But I find myself craving it now that the weather has warmed up. And when you keep some of the ingredients on hand, it makes getting dinner ready easy and cool.
But here’s what I want to say about salads. It took me a long time to learn this. Give yourself permission to add in some of the ‘goodies’ that make a restaurant salad so good. By limiting the amount of the extras, you still get all those special flavors and textures that make a salad so good, and if you choose correctly, you make the salad into a meal that will stick with you. And it will still be WAY LESS calories than a similar restaurant salad.
Here’s the extras I had in my beet salad tonight: roasted beets, blueberry-cinnamon goat cheese, walnuts, and Georgie’s Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Canneloni Beans. And now I have to stop and say something about these beans. Those of you who read regularly know that I am not a fan of the bean. Just don’t like the texture. But this recipe intrigued me, and the idea of using them in place of croutons also sounded like a good idea. So I made them, and when they came out of the oven, I tasted them. ‘Hmmm, they’re still beans.’ To be honest I was disappointed. I was hoping that they would taste like…I don’t know. Potato chips? Anyway, I ate a few more to confirm my diagnosis. I was just going to take them to some girls at work who had expressed interest in the recipe. Then, when I made my salad, I forced myself to toss a few on top. OH. MY. GOSH!!! They are fabulous. What a fantastic texture to add to a salad. And to think that you are just adding in some good nutrition. Well, I just love it when good taste and good nutrition collide. You HAVE to try these. Very very easy to make, too.
Okay, back to the salad mix-ins. Here are some of the things I use to add texture and flavor to my salad.
Shredded zucchini and shredded carrots.
Mushrooms and onions.
Raisins and dried cranberries.
Nuts and seeds: walnuts and pine nuts and sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
laughing cow cheese, cut into bite sized chunks.
The aforementioned goat cheese.
Fat free feta cheese.
Chicken, pork, salmon. I usually have some pre-cooked meat ready in the freezer.
Corn. Carrots. Jicama. Cauliflower.
Fruit: grapes, pears, pineapple, apple, oranges.
And then I would encourage you to make your own salad dressing. It really only takes a minute, and it has spoiled me. I have a ton of salad dressing in the frig that I hardly ever use. Just mix your olive oil, vinegar and whatever flavors you want in the bottom of your salad bowl. (My fav is olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and honey.) Add your greens and mix. Then you can put all your extras on top and it will look pretty like the restaurant. (It only took me about five years to figure this out.)
That is all, folks. I had a fabulously full day. Didn’t make it to the pool, but had two extremely vigorous walks with Noah. I am feeling very athletic these days, and I like that feeling. Hope I can keep up this gym schedule, as well as the regular walk/runs with Noah.
Have a great weekend. I am scheduled to work two days, and then a trip to the Bay Area is planned, so I probably won’t be around much for a bit.
Question: Do you have a favorite salad mix-in that I haven’t thought of?