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Posts Tagged ‘Salad’

Smashing green spring salads

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I hate to sound judgmental but iceberg lettuce is useless. Other than a vehicle for Thousand Island or bleu cheese, it serves no essential nutritional purpose.

In writing my diet book, one ingredient frequently used by me in raw salads are pea shoots. The agent asked me to list substitutes in case these couldn’t be found. What? Of course they can be found – you just need to know where to look.

And sometimes when I offer ‘arugula’ as a leafy green option to clients, I get a blank stare. And a shudder. Gosh, I’m afraid to mention dandelion greens!

Here’s the deal. There are so many lettuces out there that spark salads to the next cosmos. Peppery, smooth, light, dense, crunchy, frizzy – you name it, there’s a lettuce for every palette. Read on…..

Arugula - Peppery, sometimes chewy. The tiny, delicate leaves pack a powerful palette punch so dressings need to be punchy to match. Nothing light and delicate on this leaf. (Great source of potassium, vitamin K, omega-3s.)

Watercress - Also a bit peppery, some say tangy. It’s lighter and less chewy than arugula with tiny leaves and pairs nicely in Asian dishes. (Postassium, vitamins A, C, K.)

Baby spinach – An old stand-by is a perfect partner for fruit. Try mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple chunks with a strong balsamic dressing. (Vitamins A, K, folate and mineral calcium. Note: cooked spinach breaks down the oxalates that prevent uptake of calcium.)

Romaine - Perfect grilling lettuce – who knew? (Potassium, vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, mineral iron.)

Pea shoots – These treats are right off the sweet pea vine and add fresh and lively vision and taste to any salad. Look for them in the produce or natural foods sections at your grocer. (Vitamins A, K and folate.)

Fiddleheads - in New England, my home of 12 years, I’ve grown to adore and search out these early spring delicacies. I eat until fiddleheads come out of my ears. They are curled up fronds of ostrich ferns with an asparagus-like taste. Sauté them lightly for the best flavor.

There’s no stopping you now. Let me know how you serve these spring salads.


Grilled Romaine with Black Bean and Corn Salad

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Grilled lettuce? That’s crazy. But I tell you what. It’s lip-smacking and keeps me coming back again and again. A summertime treat!

To start, heat the grill to medium-high to high heat. Wash and pat dry the organic romaine lettuce, then slice each in half top to bottom.  Liberally apply olive oil to lettuce and place inside down on grill for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from grill.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 medium red pepper seeded and chopped

½ purple onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all above ingredients in medium size bowl and then toss with 2–3 tablespoons dressing [see below].


Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon plus 1teaspoon sherry vinegar or Champagne vinegar

1 garlic clove, pureed

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons agave nectar

Hot sauce to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Salt to taste

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil in bowl. Whisk in oil.

Plate the romaine, then spoon 2/3 cup Black Bean and Corn salad on top of grilled romaine; drizzle with additional dressing as desired.

Optional additional toppings: sliced avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted sesame seeds.

Inspired by a great little Mexican restaurant in Newburyport, MA. 

Want to knock off 10% of your calories?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Gotcha! Course you do. We all do. It’s that last 5 pounds. Or maybe it’s the first 20 or 30. Either way, you can knock off 10% of your calories easy wheezy. Slenderizing your meal is just freshness away.

On 5 different occasions, women were offered a large 100-calorie salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumber, shredded light cheese and fat-free Italian dressing graced the bowl. It accompanied a cheese tortellini and tomato sauce entree on this fare date.

When told they had to eat the whole salad, these women ate 11% fewer calories in the meal than when they had no salad. Here you go….when told to eat as much of the salad as they wanted, they only ate 2/3rd’s of it, and ate the same number of calories as when they didn’t have a salad.

When I work with nutrition clients, it’s always about what you can add to your plate. Deprivation sucks. I know that. We’ve all been there. Good grief, the Thank-God-I’ll-Never-Do-That-Again 3-day diet of wieners, cottage cheese and green beans was the grossest thing ever. We don’t want to feel like we have to give up anything. We don’t want to eat less of our favorite foods, or never have pasta or Thai food or cake again.

Speaking of cake, seems like this is an easy way to have your cake and eat it too. Add a salad. A large one. Or add roasted asparagus to supper. Caramelized carrot pennies to the menu. Broccoli and cauliflower saute. Fill half your plate with veggies and enjoy the quarter-plate each of your favorite protein and grain. Enjoy that 11% less calories that leads to 11% less waist.

Scrumptious summer leftovers

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

July 4th, the BBQ grill was fired up for Grilled Romaine with Black Bean and Corn salad. Can you say fireworks? Well, we stayed home to avoid the crowds and were pleasantly surprised that we brought home fireworks with this dish. You can catch the recipe below.

So last night, “what do you want for dinner” was almost answered with, “Let’s eat out.” Visions of Life Alive vegan restaurant in Central Square, or the Red Lentil in Watertown danced through my head. But OK, reality check. We have a fridge full of veggies that will die and rot if we don’t devour them soon. A bit of black bean and corn salad was left over from the 4th. I was panning for tofu so pulled out How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and delighted with 2 full pages in the Index for tofu. I chose Teriyaki Tofu and whipped up the marinade before my daily walk.

Each step I took just brought me closer to home and the vision of grilled tofu atop mixed greens, leftover black bean and corn salad with ample drizzles of cumin-lime vinaigrette. Whip out your grocery list and make these 2 scrumptious summer salads this week. (more…)