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Monday, May 19, 2008

Chopped Salad

The past few weeks have been filled with many many party festivities; which included an abundance of food and drink. My body is now craving some healthy food; even Dave is saying he needs some 'green stuff' as he calls it and that is a rare comment from him.

In general, I think salads get a bad rap for not being interesting or creative or not filling enough. The big media push now is how fattening salads can be. Sure, a salad can be fattening when you add a deep fried Twinkie on top of it! Come people, as with anything else - everything in moderation!

One good healthy salad option is a chopped salad. Have you noticed how many menus have a chopped salad on them these days? I adore a good chopped salad; you get an abundance of flavors in every bite, it takes less dressing and you can lighten up on the cheese and other 'fatty' ingredients that tend to push the salad over the edge. The idea behind this salad is that you can include many ingredients, they just need to be chopped much smaller than how a typical salad is served. And I find that this salad gets back to the classic fresh, crunchy salad ingredients, like carrots and broccoli - a nice change from all the fruit and nut salads that reign on menu as of late. Don't get me wrong, I make my share of fruity salads, but there is nothing like a fresh, crunchy bite of classic flavors.

One key point to keep in mind when making any salad: Toss the salad and salad dressing in a big bowl with a pair of tongs a few minutes before serving. This helps distrubute the dressing (coat all the layers) - so you can use less, and gives all the flavors of the dressing and ingredients a chance to meld together.

Overall, have fun with this salad. I tend to make this when there is a lot of little left over veggies in the fridge, it's a great garbage salad where anything goes. So feel free to add whatever you have laying around (tomatoes, leftover fresh or canned beans, zucchini, etc). I do keep softer items like oranges or cooked veggies and the like out of this salad- but test it for yourself and see what you like. Because this is made with crunchy fresh veggies, it can hold up to the dressing for a day, so you can have leftovers at lunch the next day. Use this as a base for meats or grilled kabobs. It's a simple tasty salad that offers wonderful flavor without all the fatty extras! Chop, eat and be fat and happy!

In a big bowl, add:

2 cups crispy lettuce (choose a hearty crisp romaine over a leaf lettuce. This is also one of the rare times I would say you could include iceberg lettuce.)

add: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of each of the following, chopped small
red pepper
green pepper

add but do not mix yet: 1/4 cup of the following, chopped small
green onion
green and black olives (use a mixture of the good deli olives!)
cheddar cheese

For the dressing, whisk together in a bowl or shake in a sealed jar:
4 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls fresh lime juice
4 Tbls pineapple juice
3 Tbls balsamic vinegar (use a good one, don't skimp on this)
fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Pour the dressing over the salad, start with about 1/2 of the dressing. Depending on how much salad you have made, you may not need all of it. Toss gently and allow to sit. Toss one more time just before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'd like to include a link to your recipe and include your photo (with credit) on my list of summer salads. Would that be ok?




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