Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 52: Stupendous Salads!

Salads are what some people dread when deciding to choose a healthier life-style, and many men judge women who order salads on a date, but let's be honest: Salads are one of the most salubrious ways you can feed your body and get the right amount of nutrition at the same time! I love them, as you may remember from my "big salad" post. And they don't have to be a boring side dish with iceburg lettuce as the base (I don't even consider that to be real lettuce as it's basically like consuming water). Make salads more interesting using international flavors for a more exciting experience. I'll give you some inspiration with a couple recipes tonight (and don't be afraid of brussels sprouts--most people who claim to hate them have either had them overcooked or from the freezer aisle. If you buy them organic or freshly grown, they're actually quite tasty)! Sorry I didn't take a picture of the Israeli Salad--I put it in an ugly plastic container for lunch tomorrow and deemed it unworthy for a photo-op because of that. What can I say? I'm a little obsessive and I like my food photos to be as perfect as possible considering I'm not a professional food photographer. ;)

Italian Spiced Brussels Sprouts with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese
Makes 1 serving

5-6 brussel sprouts
2 egg yolks
1 part-skim mozzarella stick
1 sun-dried tomato slices
1 tsp vegan pesto sauce
2 tbsp. low-fat ricotta cheese
red pepper flakes for garnish
oregano for garnish

1) Chop the brussel sprouts with a sharp knife to create a slaw (or they can be grated in a food processor) and mix them with the pesto sauce in a small bowl.
2) Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces and add to the bowl.
3) Whisk in the ricotta cheese and the egg yolks (or you can use whole eggs or even egg whites--despite the common belief, unless you already have a worrisome cholesterol count, you can eat an entire egg without any guilt).
4) Shred the mozzarella stick on top of the slaw and place bowl in the microwave.
5) Bake in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted on top.
6) Garnish with oregano and red pepper flakes and serve immediately!

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

Israeli Salad with Lemon-Kalamata Dressing
Makes 2 servings

16 plum tomatoes (I used yellow tomatoes because of their lower acidity level)
1/2 red pepper
1/3 cucumber
2 stalks celery
1/4 c. chickpeas
1/8 block extra-firm tofu
lemon zest to garnish

Lemon-Kalamata Dressing
Makes about 1/2 cup dressing

3 tsp lemony hummus (I used Tribe brand--very tasty) OR plain hummus with 1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp vegan sour cream (or to make this not vegan, you can opt for some 0% Greek yogurt)
1 tsp sesame oil (optional--I like the extra flavor of sesame)
1 tsp EVOO (olive oil) 
1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
8-10 Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes

1) Chop the tomatoes, red pepper, celery and cucumber with a sharp knife into small pieces.
2) Slice tofu into 1/4" sticks and set aside with the chickpeas 
4) Rinse in a colander, tossing gently to get rid of excess water and to mix the salad.
5) Spoon out salad into 2 bowls and divide the tofu and chickpeas into the bowls.
6) Whisk together salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
7) Pour dressing over the salads and mix with a big spoon. 
8) Refrigerate salad for about 15 minutes (or can be left overnight) to let the dressing soak in.
9) Garnish salads with freshly grated lemon zest and serve immediately.

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

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