Friday, November 18, 2011

Jewel Salad

My lunchtime salads are pretty routine for me, and if you search through "salad ideas" from the tags, you'll see a lot of the same things going on: base of lots of dark green lettuce, assorted other veggies for crunch and variety, a cup or so of beans, a half ounce or so of nuts or seeds (or some blended into a dressing), and some canned beets or diced fruit or occasionally dried fruit.  Yesterday I made a "micro salad" of all of that kind of thing, including some kale, and everything was chopped very small.

In an effort to simplify and to quit being dependent on the lazy answer of SAD dressings (as I have resorted to in recent weeks months), I'm working to make sure that the salad is moist enough (without seeming just soggy) and flavorful enough. Yesterday's salad was just right with diced pear and a sprinkle of balsamic vinaigrette.  And here's what I did today, a beautiful salad that reminded me of rubies:

Jewel Salad

4 - 6 cups red leaf lettuce and romaine, torn in small pieces
1/2 cup diced canned beets
3/4 cup black beans
1/3 cup red grapes, halved
1 green onion, chopped (or red onion would work, too!)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced on top
1/3 - 1/2 oz. sliced or chopped nuts (I used pecan meal, lightly toasted)

Carefully toss all ingredients together and enjoy a 400-or-so-calorie giant and filling lunch.

Verdict:  Excellent.  And beautiful, too!  I realized one of the things I miss from bottled dressings (or from the blended nut/seed ones) is a strong bite of garlic, and I thought I'd experiment with just putting pressed garlic on top to mix through the salad, and it worked beautifully.  Garlic provides a deep, rich flavor and fullness to a salad.

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I'd love to know what you think of these or if you have suggestions for improvements!