One Crunchy Salad, Two Ways

Okay, so it’s diet time again.  Yes me, the one who posted about chocolate babka a mere seven days ago, is on another diet.  But this time it’ll stick, right?  I don’t know, a certain country’s b-day is right around the corner…But I do like what I’m eating and I have oodles of energy (even after only 6 hours of interrupted sleep), so I think I’ll keep it for a little while.  What am I eating?  LOTS of veggies mostly in the form of this crunchy salad.  I knew I could not eat wilty ol’ garden salads all day and stay satisfied, so I branched out.  The inspiration for this salad came from a rather unusual source–a 5 year old’s birthday party.  If you live in a Stepford community, the kids’ birthday parties you attend may be catered.  But if you live in my town, these parties host a steady fare of Little Ceasars/Costco pizza, a store bought (and usually kinda stale) veggie platter, goldfish and juice boxes.  Not that I’m complaining, it usually pleases the target audience.  Believe it or not, I don’t attend kids’ parties for the food (unless their mom is a certain cake baker I know…).  So imagine my surprise about a month ago when I went to grab the kids their obligatory slice of pie and sitting next to it was a simple, but lovely, salad.  It did not contain iceberg lettuce, nor did it come from a pre-washed bag.  It was a homemade, grown-up salad.  It was so fresh and tasty, I had to restrain myself from eating half the bowl.  I have no such restraints at home.  I crave it.  I devour it.  Yes, I’m still talking about salad.

At the party, they used finely chopped romaine lettuce, shredded cabbage and shredded carrots and tossed them in some balsamic dressing.  Sounds simply, right?  It was, but the secret is the texture.  That crunch is enough to make you forget you’re just eating a bunch of rabbit food.  When I remade it at home; I added a few of my own ingredients and ended up with two different variations that I can’t stop making, or eating.  For the first one I just wanted a little more color and I wanted to share it with Avery, who loves tomatoes, so I added chopped tomatoes.  That’s it.  Inspired recipe number one: add tomatoes.  It makes a great side salad; especially with Italian dishes.

The second variation has a little more to it.  I was having lunch with Alpha, who is not big on balsamic.  We had a bowl of the base salad, sans dressing, in the fridge and we just starting throwing things together.   Alpha has a staple soy ginger dressing that he likes, so we used that as our anchor flavor.  We had some baked chicken in the fridge, so we threw that in there.  Then we just found a few more veggies to round out the Asian palate (cucumbers, green onion and sugar snap peas), and, voila!—one of the biggest and most satisfying meals you will find under 300 calories.

Crunchy Balsamic Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce (usually comes in a 3-pack bag) or about 1/3 of a head of romaine
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage–more if you want a lot of crunch
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1  tomato, diced
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

  1. Finely chop romaine until it almost resembles the shredded iceberg you get on tacos.  You may also have to loosely chop your cabbage and carrots depending on how finely shredded they are and how you like you salad texture.  I like mine to be confetti, so I chop a lot.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and chow down.

**Note:  These veggies are pretty hearty, so this salad should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge with the dressing.  I dress mine individually when I serve it.  The bare salad keeps in the fridge for 5-6 days easy.

Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce (usually comes in a 3-pack bag) or about 1/3 of a head of romaine
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage–more if you want a lot of crunch
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1  kirby cucumber, diced
  • 2 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped with ends trimmed off
  • 2 baked chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp soy ginger or other Asian sweet and spicy dressing (peanut sauce works well here too)

Directions

  1. Finely chop romaine until it almost resembles the shredded iceberg you get on tacos.  You may also have to loosely chop your cabbage and carrots depending on how finely shredded they are and how you like you salad texture.  I like mine to be confetti, so I chop a lot.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and chow down.

**Note:  These veggies are pretty hearty, so this salad should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge with dressing.  I dress mine individually when I serve it.  The bare salad keeps in the fridge for 5-6 days easy.

 

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  • Anne H - June 27, 2012 - 1:43 pm

    Yummy! I`m so hungry!!!ReplyCancel

  • Juicy Chicken - June 27, 2012 - 8:59 pm

    These salads are great for sides with a Chicken Breast Dinner. Try them today!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - June 28, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    OMG Bonnie, I am going to try these. They would be perfect for my new Fran-Diet dinners. Thanks!ReplyCancel

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