Here’s a simple salad that is bursting with flavor and nutrients. Try the simple homemade salad dressing – it’s much healthier than store bought dressings, doesn’t contain refined sugar, and still lends lots of flavor. Servings: 4
Here’s what you need…
- 6 cups organic baby spinach
- 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Juice from one lime
- dash of pepper
- Combine the spinach, eggs, avocado and tomatoes in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, lime juice and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, mix and serve.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 170 calories, 10g fat, 337mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 13g protein
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What makes a salad spectacular can be summed up by one very important question: Are you eating for pleasure? Are you like me who wants to delight in not only the way a dish is presented but also by it’s flavor, aroma and overall purpose of each ingredient on the plate? I ask this because many people have an unhealthy relationship with food. Some eat to feel good. Some eat because they have to without regard to whether the food tastes great or not. And unfortunately many people have unhealthy eating habits. I will save that for another post. This post is about why you would eat a salad. Because I want you to eat a salad and thoroughly enjoy it and in order to do so you must start with the right salad dressing. If you already have a favorite that you just can’t wait to drizzle over your greens, awesome! If you would like to try a few different home-made options that will keep fresh for a few days in the fridge then read on.
To me a salad has to serve a purpose. It should provide enough nutrients, have a nice variety of topings and the dressing must be off the chain. Because let’s face it, we are not bunny rabits and my taste buds need to be happy.
So where do you start with the right dressing? You need an acid and a fat. Your acid can be lemon, lime or orange juice as well as vinegars in all their glorious varieties. Your fat can be anything from olive oil, vegetable oil, melted coconut oil, avocado oil, etc. You can also use an emulsifier or thickener such as dijon mustard, avocado, a little mayo, and even egg yolks as in Ceasar dressing. Once you have these basics the rest is just playing around with the ingredients.
My basic dressings will have equal amounts of fat and acid. Sometimes I’ll use two different acids such as vinegar and lemon juice, for example. It all depends on what I want to achive and what I’m pairing my salad with. You’ll also see me adding a bit of honey to balance the acidity.
The Fun Stuff
Once you have the basics down the sky is the limit. Cilantro, basil and even fruit are great additions to any salad dressing. A little salt and pepper to taste or perhaps some dry herbs will really make your salad want to dance. If I feel like adding canned beans as one of my toppings or corn I might go with a vinegar or lime-based dressing. If I’m going the fruity route by topping with berries I will use lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar or orange juice. Shaved cheese, meat toppings, dried fruit and nuts are all amazing additions to your salad. Below you will find a few basic recipes and also a photo of my lunch which was a big salad topped with leftover steak, farro and quinoa and a side of avocado. The base is romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes tossed with cilantro dressing.
1/4 cilantro leaves
Juice of two limes
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients and enjoy
1/3 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all and add more oil if needed
Creamy lemon dressing
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon honey
6 tablespoons olive oil
Sweet coconut dressing
4 tablepoons coconut white balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons avocado oil (or something not overpowering)
Pinch of salt
Equal parts aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of dried Italian seasoning
Steak salad with cilantro dressing
When my sister in law acquired a pressure cooker for me at a super low price I was overjoyed. I use it often for stews and soups but I had not tried to use it for breakfast foods. I love oatmeal. It doesn’t have to be winter for me to enjoy a nice big bowl of the stuff with a bunch of great toppings. But since I only like steel cut oats that meant either cooking them overnight in a slow cooker or soaking overnight and then spending 40 minutes at the stove. NOT ANYMORE!
Enter the pressure cooker… Once all ingredients are in and the pressure is reached it only takes ten minutes. That’s right. TEN MINUTES. And since I love to share here is one of my basic recipes. You can use plain water, your favorite almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc. I like mine with a little water and 1%milk. You can play with the proportions until you find the right consistency. 3 cups of liquid will yield a less creamy oatmeal. Adding that extra 1/2 cup makes it creamier.
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 peeled and roughly diced apples
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups milk of your choice
Warm up the pressure cooker and sauté the oats in the oil. If you want to skip this step it’s fine but doing this enhances the flavor and adds to the overall pleasure party with your taste buds! Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and set your timer for 10 minutes. If you have an old fashioned cooker bring it to a boil, cover and cook for ten minutes. Release the pressure, stir and YUM!
Here’s my version for today
I added fresh blueberries, dried golden berries and a nice spoon-full of chia seeds along with a dollop of Manuka honey.
Try cutting up a couple peaches and adding those instead of the apples. You can also add raisins and other dried fruit to cook along with the oats. Use your imagination!
Delicious, nutritious and fast steel cut oats.
Here’s a delicious pancake recipe from Jeannie Bloch’s kitchen.
- 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (substitute: mix half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- splash of OJ
- 1/4 cup seltzer
- lots of cinnamon, or as much as you’d like.
Mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl, add the eggs, OJ and seltzer. Mix well. Add the flour and baking soda and mix gently until the flower is incorporated. Don’t over-mix. I would cook these in coconut oil and top with yogurt and pure maple syrup. Yum!
Healthy, filling and delicious sweet potato pancakes. Recipe: Jeannie Bloch
Quinoa should be a food group all its own. Here it is paired with grilled salmon, kale and baked sweet potato. If you have never cooked quinoa before here’s how you do it: 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if using for savory dishes. Leave plain if using for breakfast or smoothies.
Top this delicious salad with ripe avocado and take it to a whole new level.
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
1 can sweet corn
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 diced ripe tomato
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive, pinch of cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste
Salmon on a bed of kale paired with quinoa salad and baked sweet potato. Recipe: Mary Massey