Last week we had fall weather in the Northeast, but this week was back to summertime weather, so we enjoyed some more summer style salads. However it can be a challenge to find a salad that's both satisfying, yet isn't equivalent to the calories of a Big Mac (sneaky additions of TOO much cheese, nuts, dried fruit, avocado and potentially high fat dressings).
Enter my Caesar salad and Greek Salad recipe finds. Although our little one isn't into lettuce or a mixture of veggies, he'll select his 1 raw vegetable and put his choice on the side, so it checks off the veggie box. His fav "dressing" is hummus and peanut butter (who knew PB&carrots were such a tasty pairing?!).
There are many nutritional benefits to making your own salad, but most people reading this blog want these explanations brief, so the main benefit is using heart healthy and waist friendly EVOO or canola oil instead of vegetable oil (not bad for you, but doesn't have as many health benefits). Healthy fats have been shown to keep you feeling more satisfied between meals. I will help with the portion size of higher cal choices, so you can have the best of both worlds :). Please use a measuring spoon/cup to measure because it's hard to eyeball. You can always add more as desired. Let's move onto quick-to-prepare fish.
My current go-to's are a fish that looks like salmon, but is actually Steelhead Trout (not to be confused with Rainbow Trout) and shrimp.
We all know (and most people usually love) shrimp because it's delicious and is speedy to prepare. And no need for most people to be concerned that shrimp's "high dietary cholesterol," because it's low in saturated fat, which science now understands is the component that elevates our blood cholesterol (so avoid fried shrimp, shrimp scampi). Instead enjoy grilled, sautéed (especially in garlic) and boiled shrimp. We buy it frozen to keep on hand because it thaws quickly and the meal feels like such a treat-double bonus!
Back to Steelhead Trout...it has the omega 3 benefits of salmon, but is considerably less fishy to cook and eat. For those in the area, it's a great price at BJ's and often at ShopRite. We keep cooking it simple: place in a cast iron pan, rub EVOO on the skin side and sprinkle larger granular salt like Kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides. Then cook on the stove or in the oven until done.
Let's dive into the salad recipes!
In good health,
The Ultimate Greek Salad-This makes a HUGE salad!
Slightly adapted from the www.food.com
(I just added more vegetables and tweaked the dressing a tad)
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
-Romaine lettuce: 10 oz of the bagged or 2 heads when bought in the bag of 3, torn into bite-size pieces (I cut with a sharp knife for speed)
-3 large plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
-1 English cucumber, peeled (optional) and coarsely chopped (the long, thin, almost seedless ones or 1 large regular cucumber with the seeds scooped out with a spoon)
-1 medium red onion, cut into thin rings and soaked for 10 minutes in a small bowl of ice water to make it less sharp
-1 small green pepper, cut into thin rings
-1 small red or orange pepper, cut into thin rings
-3⁄4 cup kalamata olive
-3⁄4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Whisk dressing ingredients together until blended.
Season to taste.
Drain onion from ice water and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine all salad ingredients, except cheese, in large bowl.
Toss with dressing.
Sprinkle cheese over and serve.
Italian Style Caesar Salad Dressing and Croutons
If you're a garlic lover, you're in luck!
Dressing-yields ~1 cup
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 1/2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 clove garlic, halved crosswise
1. Toast bread and let sit to harden.
2. In a mini food processor combine all ingredients from the mustard to the Parmesan cheese. Pulse until dressing is a smooth consistency.
3. Add oil and pulse until combined.
4. Rub halved garlic on the toasted bread. Cut bread into 12 pieces.
5. Add protein of choice to make for a solid meal.