Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Works For Me Wednesday: Shake 'Em Up Salads


An obvious part of our family's quest this year to eat healthier was to eat more salads. Surprisingly, me being the veggie-lover, gets bored quickly with salad. But I knew it was important nevertheless, and so I've found ways to make salad interesting, and come up with a variety of different tastes.

  1. My husband's nighttime snack: a bowl of lettuce topped with salsa and a bit of shredded cheese.
  2. After a taco dinner, I'll use the leftover chicken or ground meat for taco salads the next night.
  3. My current favorite: an all-leaf lettuce salad, with a handful of cherry tomatoes, a bit of vinegar and oil and a sprinkle of rosemary-garlic dipping spices (You know those mixtures you can buy to add to oil for bread dipping - works great on salad).
  4. Of course there's always the chopped salad: lettuce chopped fine with as many veggies as you can come up with - mushrooms, celery, tomato, cucumber . . .
  5. Caesar salad: Romaine or leaf lettuce topped with grated parmesan cheese. Ken's Steakhouse lite Caesar dressing or Northern Italian lite dressing both go well with this.
  6. Speaking of dressing, it helps to have a variety on hand. I used to be a one-dressing girl (we MUST use this entire bottle before we open another) but at any given time you'll find at least 3 different bottles in my fridge, and there's always vinegar and olive oil within reach.
  7. For an oriental flair, mix in mandarin oranges and those crunchy noodles. Someone makes a yummy lite ginger dressing that works well with this (never bought it but someone keeps a bottle at work and we all enjoy it).
  8. For a Greek spin, toss in some black olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese.
  9. Sometimes when I indulge in the salad bar at work, I'll make a little chef salad, lettuce with some turkey or ham, green olives, hard-boiled eggs and a bit of cheese.
  10. I've been making spinach salads for us this summer. With or without chicken, the baby spinach salads is a nice change from lettuce. All you need is a few sliced mushrooms and hard-boiled egg. I do use bacon if I have the time, but the hot bacon dressing I use is pretty light (email me if you'd like the recipe).
  11. Believe it or not, dried cranberries, toasted pecans and feta cheese make wonderful mix-ins!
As you can see, salads now take center stage on our dinner table. I splurged and bought an Oxo salad spinner, which has really made it easy to keep lettuce nice and fresh and ready to go. Occasionally I'll make a dinner out of salad by adding meat to the options above - taco salad, caesar salad, etc. Actually I've found that just about all the gourmet salads that you pay $9 for at a restaurant (doesn't that just kill you! - the only one worth it to me is a steak salad) can be recreated without meat at home.

So if you're dragging your feet in the salad arena, shake things up a bit! It works for me! Be sure to check out all the other great WFMW at Shannon's site.

15 comments:

Beck said...

Terrific ideas! I'm trying to eat more salads myself, and I'm going to copy down these ideas!

Katrina said...

Great salad options! And I believe you on #11 - I like all of those in my salad. Here's a link to my favorite summertime salad:

Chicken and Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Jennifer said...

I have strayed from salads, because of laziness, but maybe this will jolt me. It's such a great way to get veggies in.

Susanne said...

Love salads! You should post that dressing recipe!

Slughorn said...

And if you do a recipezaar search, you can come up with 30 variations on just Cobb salad:

http://www.recipezaar.com/r/q=cobb+salad/pg=1

Laurel Wreath said...

Yummmm....more food tips that are making me hungry =)) Love it.

Slughorn said...

And I found another source for ideas on this: mix and match salads:

http://www.drmirkin.com/recipes/mixmatch.html

The Roaming Southerner said...

I am always looking for new salad ideas. Growing up we had the same salad EVERY night. My favorite this summer is lettuce and cottage cheese (low-fat and lactose free version for my husband)...it sounds odd, but its very refreshing...also good if you put nuts in it.

Mama Duck said...

Oh, now I want a caesar salad....

Tess said...

I love to get the caesar salad mix at the store and add grilled chicken, bacon, tomatoes, whatever else.

Mom2fur said...

Oh, I'm an absolute salad freak! And the more goodies in it, the better. Don't know if you mentioned it, but have you ever tried goat cheese on a salad? Mixed with dried cranberries and sugared pecans or almonds...heavenly! (Goat cheese is pricey, but a little goes a loooong way!)

Larae said...

I love love eating salads! Thanks for the ideas, I'll be sure to use them!

Casey said...

My summer staple has been fine chopped green leaf lettuce, avacado, strawberries, crutons and poppy seed dressing. It is so yummy!

Tammy said...

Good advice! We haven't been eating as much summer salads as we usually do...and I need to venture out of my lettuce-tomato-carrot rut.

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

I just joined Weight Watchers online this past Monday, and when I get back home salads it will be! I'll print out your post - great ideas for quick dinner options. Thanks.