Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - What can I put on my salads

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03-26-2007, 09:39 PM
I love salads but i tend to overdo the dressing...even the low fat and fat free stuff. And I also put low fat cheese. Just looking for other flavorful additions or ways to stretch the cheese and dressing.

03-26-2007, 09:56 PM
I add tons of extra veggies - cucumber, tomato, cauliflower, grated carrots, sometimes avocado. Shredded poached chicken breast or shrimp is great, too. It really bulks up the salad and tastes great. I also make my own dressing - I find it tastes better and is more satisfying so I can get away with using less.

Other things I've done - add some drained black beans, or cannellini beans. In the summer I add in corn kernels that I've cut from the cob. Certain salads, like with butter lettuce and chicken, are tasty with a little fruit added - cubes of mango, or a few raisins, with a dressing made with a touch of curry sauce.

Toasted pine nuts are great, or you could even oven-bake your own croutons using some whole grain bread - toss the cubes with a little olive oil and the seasonings you like, then bake until golden and crisp.

03-26-2007, 09:57 PM
well if you like red peppers you can do that or maybe a FEW bacon bits or almonds!

03-26-2007, 10:01 PM
I always add a tablespoon of bacon bits - 25 calories and some slices of jalapeno pepper to spice it up some.

03-26-2007, 10:05 PM
I use salsa sometimes instead of dressing- you can really pile it on for about 15 calories! Also, about half my meals are on top of salads- you don't need dressing if you've piled ground turkey chili with black beans on top, or roasted chicken and sun dried tomatoes....


03-26-2007, 10:12 PM
I eat a huge salad almost every night. Then I eat just a little bit of whatever else is for dinner (in other words, whatever I've fixed for my hubby).

I almost always use Newman's light Balsamic Vinagreitte - sorry, I know that's spelled wrong. I also like the Light Sundried Tomato. I use 1/8 cup (that's 2 T. or one serving) if salad is not too big. If I have a huge salad I double it to 1/4 cup, which is two servings. I do not like my salad dry. One serving is 45 calories, so not too bad there. It has wholesome ingredients -- no HFCS or other junk that you find in lots of fat free dressings. Best of all, it tastes great. I drizzle a little lemon juice or balsalmic vinegar over it to stretch it a little.

I also almost always put a 1/4 cup of some type of bean. Usually chick peas, sometimes the light red kidney beans. These are a good source of protein and fiber and they make the salad seem more substantial. Then I always use a 1/4 c. of low fat (not fat free -- it's horrid) of feta cheese. It has such a tangy flavor that a little goes a long way. I am an olive lover, so I usually throw about 3 green or kalmata olives (chopped) in there too. These also give lots of flavor for just a few calories, and they happen to have the good kind of fat. This all makes for a killer salad. Tastes like a Greek salad that you'd get in a restaurant. Yum. I also second all the things Sugarlove said. I'll throw just about anything in if I have it.

Good luck. Even if you don't try feta, olives, or bean, give the Newman's Own Light dressings a try. They are wonderful!

03-26-2007, 10:15 PM
Thanks guys..Next salad is for sure getting beans..;) Great idea..And I will try salsa as well..YUM!
Great ideas and I look forward to giving wquite a few of them a try!:) Thanks

03-26-2007, 10:28 PM
I'm another salsa girl. Try various types of salsas to see how you like them. Green salsas versus chunky red salsas, etc.

03-26-2007, 10:37 PM
Hi Silver,

I just wanted to add that I love dressing too, and I think the key for me is since I've been losing weight I measure the dressing EVERY SINGLE TIME. The most I'll allow myself, even on a HUGE salad is a quarter cup or two servings. This is 90 cal of the kind I use. If I need any more, it has to come from vinegar or lemon juice. I personally feel measuring is key for me, or I would use too much every time.

03-26-2007, 10:56 PM
I absolutely love salad dressings, even with everything else on the to decrease any extra added calories (and so I can eat more) I use the no calorie/fat free dressings from Walden Farms......absolutely love em! But the the essential fats required in order for the body cells to work properly, I use unsalted almonds on my salad....

03-27-2007, 06:21 AM
The only time I tried salsa on salads wound up to be a disgusting and inedible mess, so never again for me :D I love it on cooked veggies though.

I'm a big fan of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (using measuring spoon, don't trust myself with eyeballing a self-drizzle yet,) grated parmesan and heirloom tomatoes or whatever in-season raw veggies I find at the farmer's market.

To stretch the cheeses, finely grate a very sharp-flavored one. Vinegary dressings can be stretched by mixing with lemon juice. Also, instead of tossing, trying dipping the veggies or better yet, dipping the fork to save a little bit more. You can also add spices & herbs to the salad to reduce your reliance on dressings & cheeses for flavoring (I love giving my salads, and almost everything else, a good cracking of peppercorns!)

03-31-2007, 10:24 AM
I'm a big salad eater too. Every single day for lunch, and if I miss it I actually crave it. I usually go with the fat free or low fat dressings. I measure out my 2 Tablespoons (45 cal) and mix it with 1/4 c fat free cottage cheese(40 cal). It helps the dressing stretch and gives me a little more protein. I love it.

03-31-2007, 11:24 AM
When I make salads I home, I make it up in a large ziploc bag. I love balsamic vinegar and good olive oil. When everything is in the bag, close and toss and shake to get everything coated!! I also find that if I've added a little grated parm or feta cheese that it gets well distributed this way too.

You really don't need much dressing when you do this! AND all the flavors really get mixed together! (though the greens still seem to be on top at the end.

03-31-2007, 01:59 PM
I'm another fan of balsalmic vinaigrette - Trader Joe's has an awesome fat free dressing. One of my favorite salads is: spinach leaves, a few chickpeas, grilled chicken, orange pepper strips, grape tomatoes, chopped purple onion, a small portion of slivered almonds and a small portion of dried cranberries with the fat free balsalmic vinaigrette.

Is that really me
03-31-2007, 05:59 PM
I'm a big salad eater too. Every single day for lunch, and if I miss it I actually crave it. I usually go with the fat free or low fat dressings. I measure out my 2 Tablespoons (45 cal) and mix it with 1/4 c fat free cottage cheese(40 cal). It helps the dressing stretch and gives me a little more protein. I love it.

This is a GREAT idea! Thanks!!!

I don't like a lot of dressing on my salads. I usually make up my own dressing. I mix some Lite Ranch w/some honey and a little yellow mustard. I use 2 tspns. on my big salad. Wyllenn - I LOVE the idea of tossing it all in a bag. Thank you! I usually put in some finely shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese and about 3 oz. of Boar's Head Virginia Smoked ham. Also instead of croutons, I use a small amount of Fresh Gourmet Tortilla Strips. 35 calories per tblspn. You don't need much and they add a great crunch. They are in the lettuce aisle on in Giant.


04-01-2007, 06:55 PM
I'm another person that tosses their salad using a container. I put all of my ingredients in a big tupperware bowl, put the lid on, and shake shake shake. It stretches the dressing, so that everything gets evenly coated.

As far as what I put on my salads... well, my usual salad is a mix of spring mix salad greens, spinach, grape tomatoes (so much sweeter than regular), mushrooms, cucumbers, and maybe some kalamata olives, sliced peperoncini peppers, feta cheese, and then some grilled chicken. The feta is great, as is parmesan cheese, because it has such a strong flavor, so I tend not to use as much as I would if I were using, say, a mild cheddar or mozzarella. As far as the dressing, I'm addicted to Maple Grove Farms' Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette (30 cals for 2 tbsp) and their Cranberry Balsamic dressing (20 cals for 2 tbsp). I always measure them out, but they're very flavorful, so you don't need a whole bunch, but even if you use more than a serving, it's still not bad. They do have HFCS in them, so if you're watching out for that, those won't work for you, although they do offer an Organic FF Raspberry Vinaigrette that doesn't have it.

04-01-2007, 07:06 PM
I skip dressing and go straight for the ff cottage cheese. The family can have their potatoes ... I eat 1/2 cup of ff cottage cheese on my salad almost every dinnertime.

Lee Ann
04-01-2007, 07:20 PM
im not really a big salad person, and i dunno how good they are, but the grocery store i work at carries these salad spritzers, and on the bottle it says there is 1 calorie per spray...just thought id toss that idea in there

04-03-2007, 03:08 AM
Salads are my best friends! I usually eat two big ones every day, one with lunch and another with dinner.

I'm a big fan of sea salt and freshly ground pepper (or lemon pepper) on salads. I find that this really helps me stretch the dressing. My fav dressing is Bernstein's Light Fantastic (25 calories per 2 tbsp), although I'm also a fan of Trader Joe's low fat and fat free dressings.

I also like salad with just balsamic vinaigrette on it (only 10 calories per tbsp). I get some that is infused with fig, blackberry, or raspberry. My fav brand is It is pricey, but it is so much better than the balsamic vinegar at the grocery store. It's a little thicker than the grocery store brands, so I find that I don't need any oil with it (although I have been known to eat my salad with a spoon so that I get every last drop of it).

I also add fruit to my salads, usually berries but sometimes mango. It sounds strange, but I love the added sweetness. Here are two of my favorite salads:

cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh raspberries, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, fig balsamic vinegar
baby spinach, cucumbers, strawberries, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, fig balsamic vinegar

04-03-2007, 03:46 AM
OMG falafel!

You can get a box that makes a ton for super cheap...I just make the whole box and then put it in a tupperware and put that in the fridge. It's enough for the whole week.

So for my lunchtime salad I usually crumble a few falafel balls over the salad (about 60/40 salad to falafel ratio. :p) and add a little cheese. It's awesome, filling...and I totally don't miss the dressing.

04-03-2007, 06:28 PM
HarPoe Ė I do that with falafel too! It makes for a satisfying meal.

I donít like my salads dry though, if Iím having a falafel salad Iíll usually make my Israeli salad mix and toss it with my greens. Itís really easy, super healthy, and goes great with falafel: Cucumber (seeded and chopped), tomato (I usually use halved grape or cherry tomatoes), finely chopped red onion, minced fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste. Shredded carrot or chopped red bell pepper are also good additions, a little bit of sweet crunch is nice. Sometimes I add some chopped black olives or a dash of olive or sesame oil, but theyíre not at all necessary if you donít want the added fat. If I donít have falafel Iíll sometimes just throw some chickpeas or other beans on my salad.

04-03-2007, 09:37 PM
Salad toppings or mix-ins I like:
canned, drained artichoke hearts
roasted red peppers
grilled mushrooms or zucchini
definitely beans (you've read this suggestion from many others, I see)
leftover cold grains (brown rice, couscous, etc.)

04-03-2007, 11:17 PM
I usually put a tablespoon of ranch on the falafel salad. It goes a looooonnnng way.

Mmmm, today I had a salad with falafel, cucumber, tomatoe and a lil bit of cheese. It was loverly.

04-05-2007, 10:29 PM
Yum grilled mushrooms sound great!:)
BTW I have started using the tip of shaking the salad up with the 2 tbsp dressing in a ziploc bag..Works so great..:) THANK YOU! I will use this tip for the rest of my life!

04-05-2007, 11:24 PM
I like to add raw broccoli and cubed cheddar cheese to a bed of Romaine and spring mix with cherry tomatoes.

04-06-2007, 02:37 AM
I made a delicious salad today with baby spinach, sliced strawberries, romano cheese, grilled chicken and some balsamic vinegarette. It was delicious! I think next time I make it I'll put pine nuts or perhaps avocado in as well. Yum!

04-26-2007, 07:49 PM
This may sound "off" to some, but it is very good. shredded iceburg lettuce tossed with fresh raw spinach, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Top with any or no raw or steamed veggies.

04-30-2007, 02:21 AM
Being from Texas, I have a feeling most of you saying 'salsa' are talking about something like Pace.

Head for the Mexican isle in your grocery store and look for Valentina sauce. It's similar to Tobasco, more flavor, less heat. I just looked at my bottle and it's 71mg sodium per 1 tsp serving, and zero across the board otherwise (including calories, but that means it could be as high as 10 calories, I believe).

If you can't find it, try some Frank's hot sauce. It's similar, just not as good, in my opinion.

04-30-2007, 03:56 AM
I never thought to put falafel on my salad! That sounds soooo yummy! I can't wait to try it, I'm totally craving falafel now! Mmmmmm...

edited to say: We had this for lunch today and YUM!! SOOOO good! The only thing is I'm not sure how many calories, since I baked the falafel rather than frying and the nutritional info is for frying, I think (I hope!). Thanks for the great idea!!