Archive for ‘Salads’

March 18, 2014

Balsamic Maple Dressing and Salad

IMG_4543A friend of mine and his wife are very dedicated to good health and nutrition.  He often takes a picture of the salad he is having for lunch and posts it on Facebook.  They always look delicious!  One day I asked him about the dressing on his salad, and his wife was kind enough to give me the recipe.  Months later I finally made it, and it is really great and so completely easy to make and remember.

Balsamic Maple Dressing

The main thing to remember is it is equal parts maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.  The following recipe is perfect for a bag of spinach:

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
sprinkle of salt and pepper

Blend by hand or with a blender.

I initially thought it was too heavy on the balsamic flavor, but when I mixed it with the sweet ingredients, it was perfect.  Here is how I made my salad:

1 bag of spinach
2 chopped apples
1 small container goat cheese
3/4 cup candied pecans (to do this check out the instructions in this post)
1/4 – 1/2 cup of Craisins
You can really do anything you want though.  Here are some other ideas of what to add to your salad:

  • walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds
  • Havarti cheese or blue cheese
  • pears or peaches
  • baby kale, purple cabbage, or other greens
  • bacon, chicken, or steak

As you can see, the options are really endless.  Just toast or candy any nut, pick a cheese, a fruit, maybe even a dried fruit as well, add some greens and maybe even some meat, pour on this amazing dressing, and you have yourself a delicious salad!

January 7, 2012

Tasty Tortellini Salad

I got this recipe from my dear friend Loni.  It is simple, light and diet friendly, stores well to eat later (if there is no dressing on it), and tastes so good!  All you do is mix the following ingredients:

* 1 bag cooked cheese tortellini (I find the cheapest brands in the freezer section)
* 1 bag raw spinach
* 1/2 – 1 diced red bell pepper
* 1-2 diced tomatoes ( I like to scoop out the seeds)
* Parmesan cheese (to taste)
* Your favorite Italian or Vinaigrette dressing

Literally, that is it!  I like to use my chopping method before serving. Enjoy!

September 17, 2011

Chef Salad & How to Mix a Salad

 I love Chef Salad, especially if there are hard boiled eggs in it! I learned a trick this week regarding salad in general.  I had a huge bowl of a dry garden salad that I made (dressing on the side) for an event.  A lot of it was left over.  I took it home, and it almost lasted the full week.  (Avoid iceberg, it is the least nutritious and browns the fastest.)  I would just get some of the salad out, slice some boiled eggs (I cook eggs every week to help out for those times that I need some protein, so they were already made), add a few cold cuts if you like, shredded cheese, break up a cracker for a crouton taste, and use some pre-made dressing.  Later on in the week I added sprouts and cucumbers left over from other meals.

I should note that I am not a fan of dressing off the shelf.  It has unhealthy additives in it to give it a long shelf-life.  I am a big fan of homemade dressings.  But on the other hand, I am not always prepared to make a homemade dressing.  I think your next best purchase to homemade dressing is the dressing sold in the produce section (meaning it is refrigerated).  Those have fewer additives because they have to stay cold to not spoil and have a shorter shelf-life.  I also really like this yogurt brand from Litehouse.  Only 60 calories for 2 T and it tastes pretty good, especially when I’m in a rush. Another quick trick is to pour a little bit of Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar on your salad.

I learned the best salad trick of all at a country club in Houston while still working as a consultant.  You put a little bit of dressing on the salad, and add more as needed.  Then you cut the heck out of that salad with a knife and fork crossing in opposite directions until it is mixed beautifully and in perfect bite size pieces.  That helps you use less dressing, and spreads the taste evenly so the salad just tastes wonderful.  Do this step right before serving to avoid wilting.

September 14, 2011

Peanut Sauce Salad

I have fixed this many, many times and love it. It makes a lot, so sometimes I halve the sauce and noodles, but still add most of the cabbage. This a very easy way to eat buckwheat and lots of raw cabbage!

It is easiest to boil the water for the Soba Noodles as you make the sauce:

* ½ c Peanut Butter (I use “MaraNatha All Natural,” found in the health food section)
* ¼ c Olive Oil
* ¼ c Soy Sauce (or Bragg Liquid Aminos, also found in the health food section)
* ¼ c agave nectar (a healthier, natural, sweetener found in the baking aisle)
* 2 t rice vinegar
* 1 t garlic powder (you can add more if you like)
(As always, you can lessen the amount of peanut butter and olive oil to lower the calories.)

* Add 1 package of cooked & drained soba noodles (an awesome Japanese buckwheat noodle found in the health food section)  These cook pretty fast, about 3-4 minutes.
* Add 1 package of precut coleslaw mix

Although this is quite good without meat, you can also add chicken. Other things you might want to add are peanuts or cashews, sprouts, green onions, or whatever sounds good to you.  The sauce is delicious, so anything you add will most likely be great!  This keeps really well in the refrigerator.

(The sauce comes from The Green Smoothie Girl’s 101 Healthy Lunch Ideas.)

August 27, 2011

Sweet Carrot Salad

* Shred 3-5 long carrots (depending on size)
* Peel & then shred 2 apples (my favorite is golden delicious)
* Pour in a can of crushed pineapple with all of the juice.
* Sprinkle on raisins to taste.

This is even yummier the next day.  Here is a picture of the salad with ‘rainbow shaped’ pizza.