~Sunday, August 31, 2014
Summer is the perfect time to bring fresh salad medleys to the table for weeknight meals. A quick bowl of soup used to be my go-to grub after a late night at work, but after reading a cookbook on the importance of eating a high nutrient-per-calorie dense diet, I’ve added some choice leafy greens, and other super foods to my weekly grocery list: Romaine lettuce, fresh spinach, red and green onions, cucumbers, beets, broccoli slaw, green cabbage; and healthy sources of protein and fat, such as, pinto and kidney beans, pecan pieces and toasted sesame seeds, and ripe avocadoes (ready-made guacamole works in a pinch, as well). Thankfully, I already have an abundant selection of fresh tomatoes from my parents’ garden—as well as my own potted garden this year!—to add to my salads. (Perhaps you followed last season’s Growing Tomatoes blog, and are also having a successful harvest.)
To further keep my meal on a healthy note, I’ve become creative in blending natural flavors and spices to whisk up my own salad dressings: A clove of garlic is a must!—and fresh oregano, basil, or mint, also produce great taste and aroma. Using flavored EVOOs, and balsamic vinegar is another way to add pizzazz to salads. (The best source for flavored EVOOs and balsamic vinegar is Beyond the Olive specialty store in Pasadena which was featured in my previous EVOO and More blog.)
The Romaine salad recipe to follow is one of my husband’s favorites—easy, filling, and nutritious—it will undoubtedly surpass our summer-salad trend, and become a year round favorite.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 tablespoons smoked flavored EVOO (you can substitute with a smoke seasoning blend)
1 tablespoon sweet and hot mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons vanilla soy milk
2 Romaine hearts, washed and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup assortment cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small cucumber, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cooked and seasoned chicken breasts, sliced into ½-inch strips
1 avocado (or 6-ounces ready-made guacamole)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients, mixing in the vanilla soy milk last. Set dressing aside.
Place the Romaine, onion, tomatoes, and cucumber in a large salad bowl; add the salad dressing and toss gently. Distribute salad on individual serving plates, dividing an even portion of chicken strips to place atop each salad. Either slice the avocado onto each salad, or top with two generous tablespoons of guacamole. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
Sometimes I line the border of the salad with sweet potato tortilla chips for an extra crisp of flavor.