What’s For Dinner? Super Salad – Part 4
Salad is always a favorite around our house. It’s a meal in a bowl and there are lots of tricks to making it healthy and delicious.
Be sure and check the Dress It outlined below. Those of us who are trying to keep the calories under control should keep in mind that salad is only good as a low cal dinner when it’s not drowning in high fat dressing.
Hint: The wonderfully fresh, crispy taste of the individual veggies, and the variety of flavors of the add-ons, will not be lost in the overwhelming cover-up of a dress-to-kill sauce.
Here’s the how-to for a delicious salad that can be tweaked so that it is different enough to be satisfying, while it fulfills at least 2 of the 5 dinners, during the week!
Since salad can take up to an hour to prepare, do the clean-and-cut beforehand and you can take some of the sting out of the procedure when time is of the essence, as mentioned in the previous article entitled, “Get Ready…Get Set.”
We’ll talk about the basics, first, and then there’ll be a list of different add-ons to either enhance or change the salad, so that the “leftover” won’t be an absolute duplicate of the first run.
- Lettuce, spinach, baby kale, cabbage, celery, bell pepper (all colors), carrots, radishes, snap peas, cherry or grape tomatoes …what’s your pleasure…
- Toss these well in a very large salad bowl.
Hint: Keep the cucumber for “plating,” because it’s very wet and delicate and will do better added at the end. Before slicing the cake, it can be totally peeled, or the skin striped, with a potato peeler. Striping is an attractive look, helps to keep the cucumber intact and adds crunch to the munch.
- If you relish raw onion in your salad, this, too, is better added after plating because it will saturate the leftover salad as it sits in the fridge waiting for a redo
- The add-ons are available in the supermarket and, better yet, in the warehouse store as a really good buy: four bean salad; pickled beets; canned, drained corn; canned kidney and/or black or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained; olives, black or green; artichoke hearts; sliced pickles; raisins; dried cranberries or other dried fruit; dried fruit/nut mix; almonds, walnuts, pistachios; or any other toppers that suit your fancy. Think outside the box…capers; jalapeno peppers; roasted, jarred peppers; sweet, hot cherry peppers.
When buying your salad dressing, we keep to low-fat Creamy Italian or Ranch, to which we add balsamic vinegar and spices to impart a fresh, no-diet taste
- Lower calorie and fat content by buying low-fat balsamic vinaigrette or sesame dressing
- Before shaking, carefully drain the oil that’s on the top. Slowly pour the oil into the sink. When you see the flavored vinegar, set the bottle straight and slowly repeat until you see a mere film of fat that is left. This procedure imparts a richer flavor, because what’s left is the real body of the seasonings.
- A favorite…Hellman’s Low Fat Mayonnaise to which is added mustard, mix well, add horseradish, a dabble of ketchup, mix well, add balsamic vinegar or de-fatted balsamic vinaigrette until the consistency is right for adding through the rest of the salad ingredients. This delightful dressing will last for months in the fridge! Believe it or not…when served to guests, they have no idea they’re eating so healthfully!
Hint: Hellman’s Low Fat Mayonnaise (1 gram of fat per tablespoon), not Hellman’s Reduced Fat Mayonnaise), is not available in all supermarkets, but it’s worth the search!
Toss, Plate and Add…
- Add just enough dressing to moisten, not drown, the salad, assuring the enjoyment of the flavors of fresh vegetables
- After placing this mix in the bowls it’s time to top with any of the following: hard-boiled egg; cooked white or sweet potato cut in bite-sized pieces; previously cooked vegetables, such as green beans or onion/mushroom sauté; sliced tomatoes; mixed nuts or walnuts, almonds and/or pistachio nuts; sliced onion; canned French-fried onion pieces; Pub Mix; croutons; canned tuna, canned salmon, smoked oysters, sardines or leftover chicken, fish or other protein source; any other leftover lurking in the fridge.
- Alert: If adding leftover flesh food, such as, steak, cooked fish, chicken, or shrimp, be sure this is plated individually. Do not add to the big mixed bowl. This food spoils faster, even if prepared specifically for this salad.
You’ve just put together a perfect meal. Since the heavy lifting was done when you brought home the goodies, your last minute add-ons may have included leftovers or spoons of bottled and pickled delicacies used in previous salads. These jars remain refrigerated and will last for a couple of weeks. Olives, peppers and capers last longer than mixed bean salad or pickled beets.
You should have leftovers of the basic salad. This is the reason you don’t throw your other leftovers into the main salad bowl. These are always added in the final plated delivery. Thus you avoid the risk of leftover leftovers! By adding fresh ingredients or different canned wonders when you serve the salad, again, in a couple of days, it will be enjoyed once more as though it’s all new! I’ve actually had family walk into the house, start walking toward the fridge while asking, “Any leftover salad in there?”