Salads get a bad wrap as boring, flat, bowls of lettuce only to be eaten as a punishment for extended cheat days that went awry. However, these portable veggie packed meals can be flavor filled, hearty and still healthy. Fresh, spicy, salty, sweet, meaty, crunchy, chewy and more, there is a salad for every taste you desire. They can become vehicles for any flavor profile you desire and with the right mix of veggies, sauces or dressings you can transport your meal to Thailand, Mexico or wherever in a few minutes. Here is a list of our January Favorite Salads and a quick list of our current pantry must-haves.
- Italian Sub (Hold The Bread): If you’re trying to lower your carb intake or happen to be on The Wheat Belly Diet then you may want the taste of your favorite sub sandwich without the delicious but not so great for you bread boat. This salad is comprised of Turkey Pepperoni (70 calories a serving or about 14 slices depending on the brand), pepperoncini peppers, sliced golden tomatoes, fat-free cheddar cheese and a spicy mix of radicchio, arugula, and spinach leaves. This salad can typically be dressed with a little EVOO and Red Wine Vinegar. However, if you want to avoid the extra 120 calories, a tablespoon that comes from adding oil then dress your salad with SkinnyGirl Poppyseed dressing and then add some extra cracked black pepper (because it just makes everything better). At only about ten calories a serving (2 tablespoons per serving) you can’t go wrong.
- Cheeky Chickpea Coleslaw: Whether you use shredded cabbage or shredded broccoli (don’t knock it till you try it)the benefits of this sturdy little salad are not hard to see. Add some sliced carrot, celery, apple and a nice helping of chickpeas and this salad is a hearty and crunchy delight. Fat-free shredded cheddar cheese makes its appearance in this salad as well. The dressing for this salad is a mix of almond milk (you can use coconut milk if you want a thicker sauce), apple cider vinegar, garlic, Italian parsley, white wine vinegar and, of course, freshly ground pepper. Letting this salad sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two makes the difference as the acids from the vinegar do their work on the carrots and cabbage.
- You’re Sweet, But You’re Nuts: Let’s start with the phrase…candied walnuts. Wipe the drool, I’ll wait! Combine dried cherries, raisins, red onion and reduced fat feta cheese with those crunchy salty sweet nuts (sweetened with agave nectar and roasted until sticky sweet). This little concoction sprinkled over hearty romaine lettuce and lightly coated with a vinegar based dressing makes your mouth pucker and then drool from the mix of sweet and sour flavors all playing nicely together. Try reconstituting the dried cherries in some freshly squeezed orange juice to bring back their plumpness and also to add some additional sweetness and you’ll have chewy mouthfuls of salad during every bite.
Salad Pantry Must Haves:
Skinny Girl Salad Dressings – they are low in calories but high in sodium (so beware). There doesn’t seem to be an enormous selection but what they do have are great in flavor and waist friendly.
Nuts – Slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans and more. They add a much-needed crunch to any salad and are a great substitute for carb filled croutons.
Cheese – Technically doesn’t go in the pantry but still. Whether fat-free or full fat adding cheese can take your salad to the next level. Cheddar, feta, gorgonzola or swiss there is no such thing as a bad slice.