I'm salad-challenged. When I was a child, we had them every night at dinner, and I HATED dressing. It's still the only fattening thing I don't like :) Then, my idea of a salad was a few leafs of iceberg lettuce with canned fruit cocktail on it.
One of my goals for the summer is to eat at least one salad a day, and I'm looking for main dish salad ideas. I also blush to admit that I'm sure there's as better way to dress a salad than dump dressing on top and flip the leaves over a few times, but I don't know what it is, so I'd be grateful for some basic advice on how to make a salad, if anyone's feeling especially kind and patient :)
But most important, what do you put in a main dish salad? What's your favorite?
07-10-2006, 05:10 PM
I buy a bag of mixed baby salad greens, add chpped up mushrooms, chick peas, and sliced turkey (deli-style meat). I make my own dressing with low fat sour cream, milk, and ranch flavouring. Put it all in a tupperwear container and shake it up to spread the dressing all around. I also like plain olive oil and balsamic dressing or olive oil and lemon juice dressings.
07-10-2006, 05:16 PM
I also love mixed baby salad greens :) I've noticed that our local Kroger is carrying many more varieties now, which makes salads more interesting and more nutritious. Iceberg lettuce is useless, lol.
I love to top my salad greens with a little crumbled gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and a light balsamic vinaigrette. :T
07-10-2006, 07:16 PM
Iceberg lettuce and baby spinach topped with salad shrimp, imitation crabmeat, feta cheese and onions with sweet vidalia onion dressing and a toasted whole wheat tortilla ripped into small pieces to act as the croutons.
07-10-2006, 07:24 PM
Here are my two favorite main dish salads.
Chinese Cabbage Salad with Chicken
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1/2 package Ramon noodles, smashed into tiny pieces
- 1 tbsp slivered almonds
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1/2 head cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
- 1 4-oz cooked chicken breast (I use Trader Joe's asian-style frozen chicken breast)
- 5 tbsp low calorie sesame dressing (I use Trader Joe's sesame soy vinaigrette)
Coat frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add ramon noodles and almonds and saute over low heat until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, because they will go from golden brown to burnt in a second.
Mix noodle mixture, onions, and cabbage in large bowl. Shred chicken and mix it in as well. Finally, mix in dressing.
Makes 4 generous servings. Nutritional Info Per Serving: 390 calories, 6.5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 57g carbs, 24g protein.
Calories should be a little lower if you use plain chicken breast instead of asian-style breasts. You could also add 1/2 cup edamame (I use the pre-shelled frozen variety). This adds about 30 calories per serving. I also add pea shoots when I can find them at our farmers' market.
- 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 15.5 oz garbanzo beans (1 can)
- 1 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
- 2 oz light feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 oz turkey salami, cut into strips
- 2 oz kalamata olives
Mix ingredients for dressing. Combine salad ingredients then pour dressing over them and toss to coat.
Makes four servings. Nutritional Info Per Serving: 335 calories, 18g fat, 3g saturated fat, 13mg cholesterol, 951mg sodium, 32g carbs, 8g fiber, 2.5g sugar, 12g protein.
This recipe is actually intended as a side dish, but it's a little high in calories for a side dish salad for me, so I've increased the portion size to make it a main dish. You could make it a little more substantial by adding 12 oz chicken breast (adds 140 calories per serving) or 12 oz shrimp (adds 84 calories per serving) to it.
07-10-2006, 07:28 PM
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup nuts (I'm currently using a mix of pine nuts, slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds)
2 oz of grilled chicken (heated)
Balsalmic vinaigrette dressing
07-10-2006, 07:35 PM
Also, if you have a Trader Joe's nearby, they have great salads, some of which are very low in calories. I like the Lowfat Seafood Louie Salad (290 calories if you use all the dressing, but I find I only need about half of it. The dressing is similar to shrimp cocktail sauce, so it's a nice change of pace from traditional dressing) and the Pacific Blue Salad (only 200 calories with all the dressing - I feel so indulgent when I eat it!) My partner likes the salmon salad, which is somewhere around 250 calories with dressing.
I usually toss out the lettuce since it gets a little icky and add my own fresh lettuce (you could buy a bag of mixed greens while you are at Trader Joes). I also sometimes add some extra veggies (and adjust the calories appropriately) - cucumbers, radishes, and/or celery are my favorites.
These are my emergency, I'm-running-out-of-calories-for-the-day dinners.
One last tip and then I'll shut up about salads. Salsa, which usually only has 5 to 15 calories per two-tbsp serving, can make a great salad dressing.
07-10-2006, 08:58 PM
Salads are great! and so good for you if you do it right of course! I'm a huge fan of greek salads- I mix fat free greek dressing with red onion, cucumber (chopped), tomato and feta and then toss with romaine, grilled chicken on top makes a meal.
I also love blue cheese, mandarin oranges, walnuts in light raspberry vinaigrette- if you are a calorie counter this one slightly pushes the limit, but so tasty!
and if it's a veggie salad that I want- I add everything- tomatoes, cuke, red peppers, fresh green beans, broccoli, hardboiled egg white and turkey bacon and I do splurge on 1 T full fat Ranch dressing every once in awhile- I think if its going to get me to eat all those veggies in one sitting- I can eat some fat!
You could also do just veggies, minus the lettuce tossed in balsamic and a little olive oil- I do peppers, green beans, broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes, toss, season with some garlic salt and pepper and snack.
enjoy! and good luck
07-10-2006, 10:56 PM
When I snack on salad, I will know that I have been saved :)
Seriously, thank you all very much for these -- some great ideas. I hope to read more. I'm starting off small and conservative, with bagged baby greens, sliced roast chicken, shredded carrots and baby zucchini, and 2 tbl Marie's ranch dressing. That's lunch tomorrow.
07-11-2006, 01:52 AM
All of these salads sound wonderful. Some of my favorites are ones that have been mentioned. I especially love Greek salad. It's pretty much my favorite food. Something else I thought of is baby spinach with strawberries and balsamic vinegar. I also like a little feta cheese with this combination.
07-11-2006, 02:26 AM
My favorite is chicken caesar salad with parmesan cheese and croutons, not exactly best for you salad but it's yummy. :)
07-11-2006, 10:05 AM
I have found that if I take my salad and put it in a big ziploc, then put my dressing and shake it up, that everything gets coated really well! And that way I don't need much "dressing" at all... though at home I usually just put some balsamic vinegar (I splurge for the really good stuff) and about a teaspoon of olive oil.
I've also recently discovered sunflower seeds, which I really love on salads. And I often use a combo of lettuce and baby spinach.
the combo of sweet, salty, smooth, crunchy is great... and it's very "summery" -- though I don't put a lot of feta (about .5 oz) or sunflower seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon) as the calories can really add up.
07-11-2006, 08:52 PM
Oh, I just recently had that spinach/strawberry combination in a salad for the first time - wonderful!! At the same BBQ they had a broccoli/nut/dried cranberry combo. I passed on the meat, just ate salads and a baked sweet potato. :)