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Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

Posted: 10 Jun 2010, 23:38
Salad gets a bad rap. I love salad. But salad can be many things. It can be a light side or a filling meal or a high-calorie extravaganza! Not all salads are created equal. I eat some kind of salad pretty much every day either at lunch, dinner or both. I never tire of it because it's always different.

Post in this thread your favorite salad tips and tricks Smile

Here's how I make a salad:
1. Low calorie vegetables and herbs. This is the base. There's no rule, it's just what you like. Some of my favorites are baby spinach, mixed greens, red cabbage, grape tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, spring onion, sprouts, carrot, broccoli and many more. This is the bulk of the salad. You can make a really big salad out of this stuff for very few calories.

2. High calorie tasty stuff. This is what makes it filling and delicious. In this category you have cheese, nuts, avocado, sugary fruits, olives, and croutons. This is one place where a lot of calories can be added, so be careful! I weigh these things. And don't be afraid to have a half or quarter of a serving. I love sunflower seeds in salad, but they are super high cal. So I only have 1/4 ounce and it goes a long way toward adding the flavor without adding too many calories. Try to stick to 2-3 of these items and you should be safe.

3. Dressing. I make my own. Salad dressing is so easy to make and it really makes a difference to make it yourself. I go as lightly on the dressing as I can. For me the salad is about the mix of flavors from the ingredients and the dressing is just a touch of added flavor, not the star of the show. Dressing tends to be the calorie buster on a restaurant salad. Always get the dressing on the side.

4. Toss well. I love the mingling of flavors in a salad so I usually make it in a bowl with a lid and then shake it up for an even distribution of dressing and ingredients. Mmm salad.

I'm going to post some of my own favorites and some dressing recipes next. Post yours too!
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Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 518

Posted: 10 Jun 2010, 23:57
Please do! My salads are SO boring lol
I take the opportunity and add good fats to it, like flax seed oil and olive oil.
Loved the shaking thing, hey never thought of that!!
Do NOT quit! The universe always bows to persistence - Tom Venuto

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 00:10
Easy salad dressing:

Oil and vinegar. It's the easiest Smile

Honey lemon vinaigrette (quantity for one serving):
-Juice from 1/2 a lemon
-Splash of soy sauce or pinch of salt
-splash of olive oil
-drop of honey
-chopped fresh herb, any type you like if you have it on hand. My favorites right now are dill, mint, basil or cilantro.
Adjust to taste. Always use a very small amount of salt and honey. You can always add more but you can't take it out.

Greek Yogurt Dressing (when you want something creamy)
-2 oz greek yogurt, full fat, low fat, or non-fat depending on your desired calorie range. full fat is worth it in such a small quantity I think.
-rice vinegar (balsalmic is good too, but the dressing will be brown, which some people might not like much) I don't measure it... maybe 1 TBSP or 2? You want the dressing to be creamy, the consistency of ranch or blue cheese.
-pinch of salt
-fresh herbs (optional, but highly recommend dill particularly!)

Variation: Add garlic. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can crush it into a paste with some salt before you mix it into the previous recipe. If not, you can smash it on the side of a bowl with a spoon. 1 clove goes a long way.

Soy ginger vinaigrette:
-Rice wine vinegar
-finely grated fresh ginger OR jarred minced ginger (The jarred is sweet usually, if you use fresh you'll probably want to add a little honey too)
-splash of soy sauce
-splash of olive oil

You can make a bazillion variations of these dressings. Sometimes I add some kind of fruit- some smashed up blueberries or raspberries are really good. Lime instead of lemon. SO many different herbs! Endless possibilities.
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Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 00:21
The key to a memorable salad is flavor combination. This is such an individual taste kind of thing, but there are certain foods that just taste really good together. Lettuce is the blank slate. Pretty much everything goes with lettuce. Some of my personal favorites:

Beets, Granny Smith Apple, Goat Cheese or Gorgonzola

Apple, Strawberry, Almond

Kalamata Olives, Grape Tomatoes, Sunflower Seeds

Avocado, Cilantro, Hot Pepper (I LOVE hot peppers, raw. I know not everyone does, in which case: Yellow Bell Pepper!)

Orange slices, Walnuts- the ginger dressing with cinnamon added is particularly good for this!

Tomato Basil Fresh Mozzarella (who doesn't like that?)
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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 00:31
WOW, this looks good. Just saw this recipe on my favorite recipe place- NYTimes recipes for health. I'll be making this soon for sure:

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad
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Joined: Jan 08
Posts: 400

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 01:19
LOL! Salad addict!!

I have a love/hate relationship w/ salads. Its so easy to make them right or wrong, or bad or good.

I love love your recipes for dressings and ideas, thank you! I have that greek yogurt I didn't care for but I'm going to make a dressing out of it now. Smile

I love fruit and berries in my salads.

If I go with a high cal one that has avocado and sunflower seeds in it I use salsa as a dressing.
cindyshine..."Success comes only after you make an attempt"


Joined: May 09
Posts: 195

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 03:42
ahh i LOVE salad definitely a salad addict here, i could (and in the pastr have) eat salad for every meal i pretty much put everything in it, usually spinanch and mixed lettuce leaves, red pepper, cucumber, red onion, spring onion, avacado, sweetcorn, blueberries, apple, strawberries, asparagus and i always top it of with some olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar yum yum
I have a blog Smile not super diet related but a bit!!

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 8

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 03:54
Ok so I have one to add for you all! I have been eating this for the past few weeks now and am addicted!

Baby Spinach
Bleu Cheese Crumbles
Raspberry Walnut Vinagrette

Absolutely wonderful! I can't get enough. Just make sure to watch how much bleu cheese and dressing you are using!

I also have been putting spicy banana peppers on my salad or mandarin oranges. This gives them a lil kick or some sweetness and is a nice change.

Joined: Dec 09
Posts: 458

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 04:00
Salad and I do not get along at this point, I just cant seem to enjoy it unless I make it really high calorie.
I will try some of your recipes though, maybe this can make a differance in my love/hate realationship with it. lol
Thank you guys for your tips!!
"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucius

Joined: May 10
Posts: 18

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 05:52
I LOVE salad as well but don't eat it nearly enough. I have been addicted to baby spinach lately though. Even if I make an omelet or scrambled eggs, I'll throw some baby spinach in at the last minute. Yum!! With a busy schedule, I need to be able to do some pre-planning to be able to eat more salads. I'll get there...especially with these great ideas!! Thanks againSmile
Live, Laugh & Love

Joined: Apr 09
Posts: 440

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 07:07
We eat salad almost every night during the week.

I wash my lettuce all at once, then roll portions in paper towels and keep in a glass pyrex container. (Used to use plastic bags which is fine, but I'm a freak now about using plastic.) It will stay fresh all week and I despise using a salad spinner and like fresh lettuce vs the bag mixes. I will definitely buy the bag mixes if they look very fresh to save time.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this (great) post, you'll see a few very very simple and good salad dressings you can make in about a minute in an empty jam jar. Jarred dressings are full of nasty nasty stuff-especially the low fat or "lite" kinds. And it's so easy to make your own. Even a blue cheese dressing takes about one minute to make.

Here's my basic vinaigrette recipe (from Mark Bittman), if you like recipes. I don't follow it anymore and I use the garlic press for the shallots. It's very forgiving. You really don't need to measure once you make it once or twice.

* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons or more good vinegar -- wine, sherry, rice, balsamic, etc.
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 large shallot (about 1 ounce), peeled and cut into chunks.

I used to use an immersion blender and make enough for a few nights, but now I just mix in the bottom of the bowl, just enough for that night's. Saves a lot of dishes. (Don't hAVE dishwasher.)

I eyeball the proportions. Filling the bottom of a large silver mixing bowl with oil + vinegar gives a good amount for a large salad. The general rule is fat:acid in a proportion of 3:1. So, three parts olive oil to red wine or balsamic vinegar or lemon or a mix. A blob of dijon mustard. Salt and pepper and, if I have it, a bit of shallot (garlic is good too though the shallot is nicer) squeezed through a garlic press. Sometimes I make a creamy dressing but not often.

My regular night salad usually has bell peppers, cabbage and some red onion. Avocado is always a nice touch, but my husband is allergic, oddly, so I don't often just cut it into mine.

I also LOVE bean salads. I mix the vinaigrette in when the beans are hot and usually put in some celery and bell pepper.

THis is a basic and yummy one. The balsamic and the basil give the salad a refreshing sweetness.

1 can white beans (or ~two cups cooked beans)
1 bell pepper, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

And I love the NYT recipes for health. Great stuff. I also am a big slaw person--LOVE cabbage--and want to try this lime and peanut slaw soon. ANd also this broccoli slaw. Loads of good slaw recipes on Smitten Kitchen. r
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.

Joined: May 10
Posts: 507

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 07:23
I'm a daily salad eater too. K8, you've probably touched on all the ingredients I use, and like you said, every salad is different.

If I skip a day, I literally crave a salad.
If you sometimes feel a little useless, offended or depressed, always remember that YOU were once the fastest and most victorious little sperm out of millions!

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 21

Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 09:41
I eat a huge sald for lunch every weekday. Love it!

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