Jan 6, 2012
Savor This Salad
Liven up your next salad with a tantalizingly tasty veggie combo
Each New Year brings with it a renewed sense of hope, grand intentions and a host of new resolutions. More often than not, they include a few promises about eating better, exercising and losing weight. It's sort of a tradition!
But before we know it, we've given up on our good intentions, lost our resolves and we're back to our old habits. Let's make this year different! Although I have no clever ideas about how to help you stick to your workout regimen, I can share some "joy and gladness"¬—as my husband dubs it¬—in the kitchen. That is, if you're up for a little adventure.
If you're anything like me, you take matters very seriously when it comes to getting your "eat" on. Most people seem to be open to the idea of eating better and leading healthier lives, but they falter at the notion that "healthy" food is tasteless, unsatisfying and inaccessible. I would love to change that perception.
Not only am I an incorrigible foodie, I am unapologetically health conscious as well. So, when it comes to having the 411 on what's hot in the health food scene, I'm your girl! I have already tried just about every popular vegan/vegetarian alternative on the market, so most of the footwork is already done for you.
Each month we will feature a new recipe or restaurant, as well as new information highlighting the foods of each season. This month, we're kicking things off with a hearty sautéed veggie salad that can serve as an entire meal.
Over the summer, I participated in the Farm Stand outdoor market program at the DMC. On my first day, Chef Michelle Kobey of Gourmet Everyday, a food delivery service, put together an amazing salad using the fresh produce provided by the Eastern Market vendor that day.
I watched in awe as she boiled baby red skin potatoes and cut fresh corn off the cob to sauté with peppers and whatever bounty she could get her hands on. When she tossed the butterflied chicken breasts on the grille, it was clear what I'd be having for lunch that day!
Unfortunately, salad can be a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to nutrition. It is indeed possible to completely sabotage a would-be healthful cornucopia of fresh, raw goodness by piling on excessive amounts of dressing and such that add extra fat, sodium and calories.
The good news is that by making a few simple adjustments, it can be avoided. Opt for plant-based ingredients with various textures to make your meal more interesting. Try toasting a few raw nuts for added crunch instead or croutons or juicy chunks of fruit instead of heavy dressings.
My family prefers a creamy dressing to vinaigrette hands down, so when I tried to serve fresh squeezed lemon juice as a healthy alternative, they laughed me right out of the kitchen! I can only get away with that when I make fattoush.
In compromise, I use all natural varieties found in the chilled produce section and avoid brands containing artificial ingredients and preservatives. It's my attempt to find a happy medium. If the dressing is thicker,
loosening it up by whisking in a little milk stretches it farther and helps you use less.
Of course, I use soy or almond milk, but one step at a time.
This recipe is my own version of Michelle's garden salad and I encourage you to experiment with your favorite veggies to make it your own. Fresh green beans or asparagus—the possibilities are endless!
Fresh Garden Salad
- Romaine Lettuce or Mixed Greens
- Roma Tomatoes (cut in wedges)
- Green Onion (chopped)
- Red Skin Potatoes (boiled and halved)
- Fresh Corn (cut off the cob)
- Tri-Colored Peppers (chopped)
- Chicken Breast (grilled and chopped)
- Arrange the lettuce, tomatoes and onion on serving plates.
- Heat a little oil (coconut/ olive etc) in a skillet and sauté the peppers, potatoes and corn till crisp tender.
- Divide chicken and sauteed veggies among plates atop salad; drizzle with favorite dressing.
- Gardein or Quorn products are terrific meat-free options
- Garlic Expressions vinaigrette is a fabulous all natural option that goes with everything!
- Use darker leafy greens instead of iceberg for higher nutritive benefit