Spice up your salad game with new flavors to keep things interesting. People often lament eating salads; however it’s important to keep them flavorful and filling. I like to change up both the proteins and the assortment of veggies. Check out two ideas below.
Chicken Fajita Salad: All of the accompaniments of chicken fajitas make a wonderful salad with a few handfuls of mixed greens. I caramelized onion with yellow, red and green bell peppers with mushrooms and sautéed some spicy chicken to go on top a bed of mixed greens, sliced and seasoned avocado and some sliced jalapeño peppers. This can be an intentional dish, or a way to repurpose leftovers from a taco night.
BBQ pork salad: Flavorful pork can definitely make the slide of vegetables go down easier. For this salad I used mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber and some assorted olives I had on hand. You could always swap the olives for picked jalapeños if you typically eat those with the pulled pork. I topped the salad with some microgeens I have been growing for some added nutrients and flavor. Keep the dressing simple with a lime and garlic dressing or balsamic vinegar just on the greens. There’s plenty of fat on the salad already with the olives, avocado and pork so adding more in the dressing is not needed. Once again this salad is a great way to use leftover bbq, roasted pork or chicken to mix up meals or get in more vegetables.
This tasty salad was inspired by the beautiful Brussel sprouts that are in season at the Red Stick Farmers market. You just can’t go wrong with feta and balsamic in a salad! Grilled chicken or shrimp or really any protein of your choice would be a great addition to this salad. You can also add other seasonal fruit and vegetables such as lettuce, strawberries or peppers for some added nutrients and flavors. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!
Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts Salad
2 cups shaved Brussels Sprouts
2 cups chopped asparagus
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup sliced onion
2 tbsp. chopped nuts (optional
2 tbsp. feta cheese
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. honey
3 cloves of garlic
Rinse vegetables. Peel and slice onion. Peel garlic.
In a large bowl, add vinegar and honey and mix well to dissolve honey. Press in garlic or mince and add. Add sliced onion.
Using a mandolin, thinly slice Brussel sprouts. If you do not have a mandolin, use a box grater. You want to break the sprouts down so that they are easier to eat.
Add sprouts to the bowl. Trim asparagus by using one stalk and bending it to where it breaks naturally and trim the others the same length. This will help you avoid adding woody stems. Add to the bowl.
Add cranberries, feta and nuts. Drizzle with olive oil, mix well.
It’s that time of year again for strawberry season! I cannot get enough of this local, flavorful fruit and the opportunities to make new inspired creations. This past Saturday, I shared one such dish with a shrimp avocado and strawberry salad. Traditionally for such salads, I’ve added other seafood like crab and fruit such as mango. I decided to make a version using fresh strawberries from the Frank Fekete Farm, seafood from Anna Marie Shrimp and local microgreens from Westdome Nursery. The trick is to balance the sweet with savory additions like fresh garlic and herbs in the dressing. This tasty dish was well received and one that I’ve already made again. Check out the recipe below.
Shrimp, Avocado and Strawberry Salad
1-1.5 lb(s). peeled and deveined shrimp
2 cups of chopped strawberries
3 cups of microgreens (Can also mix in salad greens)
2 large avocadoes
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. local honey
4 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Red Stick Spice garlic and herb (no salt)
1 tbsp. Red Stick Spice Roasted Onion granules
Pinch of Red Stick spice aged balsamic vinegar sea salt (or reg sea salt)
Peel and devein shrimp and set aside. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add 2 tsp of each seasoning (minus salt) to shrimp and add to a hot skillet. Add a splash of water and sear for 3 minutes on both sides before removing from heat.
In a medium serving bowl add vinegar and honey and mix until well blended. Add in oil. Peel and press garlic in. If you do not have a garlic press, mince finely, then add to the bowl. Add in remaining seasoning. Mix well.
Rinse and chop 2 cups worth of strawberries. Add to the bowl. Cut the avocado in half then score each half into bite-sized pieces before scooping into the bowl.
You can chop shrimp or leave whole and add to the bowl. Rinse and chop green onion then add to the bowl.
Add in micro greens and optional salad greens. You can also add in fresh herbs like parsley for an added layer of flavor. Mix well, serve and enjoy.
While I enjoy a nice tuna or salmon fillet, I’ve been itching to try the canned and pouched varieties with an inspired twist. Both varieties of fish are great sources of omega 3s and vitamins such as the B complex, selenium and magnesium which means they are great sources of antioxidants which fight oxidative stress in the body and helps defend the body from chronic disease. Fish is recommended to be consumed at least twice a week to get the best benefits from these powerful sources of nutrients and lean proteins. I started with salmon cakes, as an alternative to the traditional crab cakes and served it on a bed of arugula and mixed kale greens and cucumber from my local farmers market. Of course I was proud to add a few tomatoes from my own back yard. J To top things off I used a little lemon juice and black currant balsamic vinegar, though any preferred variety will work with this dish. Check out the recipe below. Please l note that no salt was used because of the wonderful addition of capers and Kalamata olives in the salmon cakes; however if you are not as fond of them as I am and prefer salt, a small pinch will do. Share your thoughts and enjoy!
1 5oz can of boneless skinless pink salmon
2 tsp capers
5 kalamata olives chopped
2 tbsp. green onion chopped
½ tbsp. flour of choice
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups of salad greens (mixed or preferred choice)
1 cup of sliced cucumber
½ cup tomato
1 tbsp. dressing of choice
1 lemon juiced
Open and strain liquid from the can. Add to a small bowl.
Rinse and chop green onion. Chop pitted Kalamata olives. Add both to bowl
Add capers and pepper to the bowl and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well. Add flour and mix well.
Add oil to a medium skillet over medium heat.
While it heats, form two patties and once hot add to oil. Cook for 2 minutes or until it starts to brown then flip and repeat on the other side. Turn off heat. (It may break and if so, the other browned side will help bind the patty back together.)
Rinse salad greens, cucumber and tomato. Slice cucumber and tomato and add to plates. Add cakes then a drizzle of lemon juice and dressing.
I knew this would be a week where I would need to eat dinner quickly to get work done and workouts in, so I went with my favored chicken legs. I am a huge fan of making half the pan of baked chicken flavored different ways and I continued that trend this week with my pan of 10. I seasoned half the chicken with cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne and the other half with smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.
For sides I rinsed and warmed a can of organic black beans that I mixed with cumin, canned diced tomato and cilantro as one side. I also brought a few ears of corn that I cut off the cob and seasoned with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
For my lunch and dinner this week, I alternated between chicken with those two sides, chicken tacos and a basil and peach salad that all used that original pan of chicken from Sunday.
The chicken took 35 minutes to cook, the black beans 10 minutes to be warmed through and seasoned and the mango pico took 10 minutes to make. I cut the corn off the cob and seasoned it as needed for meals since it doesn’t need to be cooked and also diced tomato and cucumber for salad lunches in the morning before work.
The “cooking” this week took less than an hour for 10 of my 15 workday meals and also totaled $24.91 or 2.49 per meal. It helps if you can pick flavors and main items first and build from there. See the details below and give meal planning a try!
1 can of organic black beans – $.89
1 can diced tomatoes- $.98
2 ears of corn- $.29/each
Romaine and arugula- $7
Chicken legs- $2.31
Hola Tortillas- $2.59
Fresh tomatoes- $5