Friday, May 22, 2009

Kick Ass Salads

In my house, we usually eat heavier in the evenings. I know you're not "supposed" to eat heavier at night, but I live with a dude who isn't a big fan of salads, so I have them at lunch when he's not around.

This week, I had two AMAZING salads so I wanted to brag, er, share.

First, a taco salad:

I started with a bowl of spinach and added:
black beans
green peppers
roasted red peppers
about 1/2 ounce of shredded pepper jack cheese
a couple spoons of salsa
a handful of crumbled up tortilla chips (great way to use up the crumbs at the bottom of the bag, which, for us, usually end up in the composter). I would have added avocado if we had one, but we were out.

I added some hot sauce on top too, for a little extra kick. I had this last week and then made it for Andrew to take to work this week and he LOVED it. Since he usually hates salads, I consider this a victory. You could add some chicken or beef if you want a protein boost. But this was perfectly satisfying for me AND kept me full until dinner.

Then, there was this summer salad:
Sorry the photo is crappy, I took it with my blackberry (which I still don't really know how to use, but at least I look cool trying).

Anyhow, this is a lighter version of a salad that I make in the fall, it doesn't have a name.

Again, I started with a bowl of spinach. Then I added:

1/2 chopped apple
a few tablespoons of dried cranberries (these are awesome in ANYTHING, but best in salads and yogurt parfaits. You could use any dried berry, really.)
cherries (fresh ones. with the pits. they're a pain in the ass to cut up, but totally worth it).
1/2 ounce of gorgonzola crumbles
a tablespoon of almond slivers
dash of balsamic dressing (I'm obsessed with Trader Joes').

I've also made this salad with strawberries and onions (a tasty combo) or any other berries that I have on hand.

I should also mention that for me to really enjoy a salad, it needs to have something a little creamy in it; either cheese or a creamy dressing or something like avocado or chickpeas (which have a similar consistency). This is also an easy way to cut calories because often times, I'll use it in place of a dressing (like in the taco salad). For the second salad, I only use a dash of dressing, but I could have easily just used plain balsamic vinegar and it would have been just as tasty. AAAAND 1/2 an ounce of shredded or crumbled cheese has about half the fat and calories as an oil-based dressing.
Things like salsa, hot sauce, lemon juice and salt and pepper also give salads a kick with minimal calories (I might skip these on any salads with fruit though. Balsamic is really the best compliment to fruit, I think).

As a rule, I always ask for dressing on the side when I order salads. Not only do I end up using less, but I really hate the puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl, and too much dressing makes the greens soggy, which I think is kind of gross and really unappetizing.

I think salads are a super quick and easy way to get creative with meals. And I'm a little lazy like that.
What are your favorite salad combos?? Maybe I'll try some new ones and "review" them here!

Oh, and have an awesome loooooong weekend! My goal is to not overdo it with delicious BBQ food and beer. At 4:30, I will have achieved my workout goal for the week, so I'm feeling pretty good heading into the weekend. But, beer has been known to ruin pretty much everything I plan to do (like workout, sleep, and be responsible).

Happy Memorial Day!


jilly said...

Here's what I put in my favorite salad:

artichoke hearts
sundried tomatoes
lemon juice
a little bit of the oil from the sundried tomato jar
a little bit of that dried italian herb blend
feta cheese

I discovered arugula when we were going through that spinach recal a few years back. Definitely an awesome substitution if you want something as nutritious, but a little more flavorful than spinach.

Sarah Pearce said...

Those sound fantastic. I like the spinach in the taco salad. I will definitely try that.

Dried cranberries rule, as do fresh cherries.

Maybe I'll post the taco salad I made, and we can have dueling vegetables.