Tag Archives: salad dressing

Make your Salad Epic

It sure isn’t easy to eat healthy if your food tastes like crap, is it?

One of the biggest hurdles to eating healthy is picturing days on end of eating carrot sticks, celery, and oh god, not another salad. Healthy is boring to many people. So why stick to it.

If you’re watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (and you should be, it’s fabulous!), the local station DJ made a similar comment to Jamie about not wanting to eat lettuce to be healthy. In reality (as Jamie’s trying to show), there are so many great tasting recipes out there that aren’t salads, but still healthy.

Let’s call a spade a spade. A salad can be an easy and healthy part of a healthy diet, and most healthy people eat a lot of salad. Not all salads are healthy – there are plenty of unhealthy salads out there too – some have as much fat as a quarter pounder. Think taco salad, caesar salad, anything with a really creamy dressing.

And if you’re picturing your salad the typical iceberg lettuce, carrot, maybe tomato with Kraft salad dressing, forget it. That’s not a salad to me.

My point is if you’re going to make yourself a salad, make it EPIC. Make it memorable. Make it so delicious that you actually crave that salad the next day. Make it so epic you forget that it’s healthy – it’s just good food.

So, what makes a salad epic?

  • Start with your base of lettuce. Combining types of lettuce makes it interesting and adds different flavours. Mine right now has red lettuce and spinach. I love the buttery texture of the red lettuce. And I bought if for only ¢63. Not bad!
  • Add protein. Here’s a chance to make your protein rock. Leftover roast chicken. Chicken or turkey bacon. Hardboiled egg. Sliced flank steak. Leftover roast. The more flavourful, the more it adds to your salad. I often use 2 proteins – chicken and 1 hardboiled egg. Yum.
  • Lots of veggies. But only veggies you like, because really, who wants to pick veggies out of your own salad.
  • Sprouts on top. I love a good sprout – it gives the salad texture and a nutty flavour.
  • Nuts – sliced almonds, walnuts, whatever goes with your flavours.
  • Something warm – don’t underestimate the impact of warm food on your cold ingredients. Either I heat up my protein, or I will add steamed green beans, or other steamed veggies.
  • Something sweet. I don’t always do this, but if you want to kick it up a notch, add some dried cranberries or dried cherries for a little punch. Edit: Cut up fruit, such as apples or pears also add some sweetness with less sugar than dried fruit. (Thanks Carmen for your comment – I hadn’t included fruit!)
  • Something tart. I use goat cheese (since I’m non-dairy, it’s the only cheese I can eat). The goat cheese gives it a creamy texture, but also a little tartness. If you don’t like goat cheese (really??), you can get tart from the salad dressing as well. Plus, with the something warm (see above 2 steps), the goat cheese melts a bit.
  • Last but not least, the dressing. The dressing is THE most important part of any salad, I think. Which is why I’ve given up store bought salad dressings. They taste HORRIBLE after you’ve made your own, and it takes about as long to make your own as it takes to walk down the aisle and pull one of those nasty bottles off the shelf. I’ve put a number of my favourite on this site, and love to hear new recipes. So please, don’t be selfish, SHARE! Here’s a list of mine (click for the recipe):

Apple Cider Dressing

Green Dressing (on my salad right now!)

House Dressing

Asian Dressing

The one mistake that I often make is putting too much salad dressing on my salad. But I’m trying to curb that habit!

I’m eating lunch while I’m writing, and my salad is EPIC! I even remembered to take a picture (woohoo!) so the image you see is actually my salad. I only have egg in it, and some chicken would have made it even better. I had leftovers from last night’s dinner in the fridge, and I craved a salad instead.

And just so you don’t think I’m blowing smoke, last week I offered to make one of my salad dressings for a dinner party with friends. And I got compliments on my salad dressing, yes I did.

So here’s my call out to all of you. To my friends. I want to prove to you how epic my salads are, so please, send me an email and I will have you over for lunch to experience one of my salads. Yes, I said “experience”, cause that’s what it is. I expect my lunch calendar to be full soon!

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Shrimp skewers

I felt like shrimp tonight, and so I fired up the BBQ and made some tasty shrimp!

I served it on top of a salad, and had the most delicious dinner. I must say that some nights I’m really outdoing myself! Some of these meals are restaurant quality…or better. My talent has been finding these awesome recipes! This from the girl who often hates to cook. Maybe I should have people over for dinner more often…..(if only the house cleaning fairies would visit!)

(Oh, wait, I said “girl”. Is it ok to still say “girl” or have I really outgrown that and have to say “woman”. Funny, I still feel like I’m in my 20’s, so “girl” it is.)

The shrimp skewers were simple and quick – easily something you could throw on the BBQ (or inside grill if you have one) and have dinner ready in about 20 minutes. My salad ingredients were mostly cut up already, so I just had to assemble them together.

When you read the ingredients below, you may think that butter isn’t healthy. I believe that we need to have some healthy fats in our diet, and believe it or not, many nutritionists and naturopaths believe that butter is healthy, when used in moderation. I don’t use it every day, but there are certain times I do use butter. Our bodies need fat, so make sure you include a healthy fat every day – butter, animal fat (yep, animal fat), olive oil.

If you want to be healthier, ditch the margarine and replace with butter – the fats in margarine are the unhealthy fats!

(Just a reminder – these aren’t actual photos of the meals, for the most part. I get so excited with what I’ve just created that I finish it BEFORE I remember to take a picture! Note to self – must remember to photograph meal before eating.)

Shrimp Skewers

If you have frozen shrimp, but the shrimp in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, take room temperature butter (unsalted), and add in 1-2 garlic cloves (depending on your taste).

Peel shrimp, then place onto skewers. I put 6 shrimp per skewer.

Baste both sides of the shrimp with butter mixture then place on grill.

While cooking, turn shrimp and baste. Cook until shrimp are fully pink.

Salad

Ingredients:

Lettuce (this time I used red lettuce – it was soft and buttery!)

Red pepper

Cucumber

1/2 avocado

crumbled goat cheese

sprouts sprinkled on top

Take shrimp off skewers and serve on top of salad

Apple Cider Salad Dressing

Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add a dash of maple syrup. Add 1/2 tsp of mustard powder and shake to mix.

Pour dressing over salad.


Voila. A simple and delicious dinner!!

Salad dressing delights

I stopped buying store-made salad dressings over a year ago. I finally discovered how much better my own can be!

Since then, I’ve been on a search for amazing salad dressing recipes. Yes, there is the option of the olive oil/lemon juice or olive oil/balsamic vinegar combinations. But I was looking for options beyond these.

Here are 3 of my favourite salad dressings.2 are from the ReFresh cookbook, and one is from my favourite website, Elana’s Pantry.

The Green Dressing is a delicious tangy dressing made from cilantro. It really adds a kick to your salad. The House Dressing is delicious – I ate this for 3 months straight last summer. And the Asian Dressing was my favourite fall dressing. It’s so easy to make. And if you haven’t tried Ume Plum vinegar….you should. I had bought a bottle and didn’t know what to do with it – until I saw this recipe. Now I’m hooked!

Enjoy!

Green Dressing – ReFresh Cookbook (Ruth Tal)

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. peeled and chopped ginger root

1/4 c. rice vinegar

1 1/4 c chopped cilantro

1/4 water

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp. wasabi

2 tbsp honey

Preparation

Put the garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, cilantro and water in a blender. Process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients while the blender is running. Remove only when fully liquified.


House Dressing – ReFresh Cookbook (Ruth Tal)

Ingredients

1/4 c water

1/4 apple cider vinegar

stevia (to taste)

1 tsp lemon juice (I add more)

3/4 tsp tamari (wheat free)

1/4 tsp. mustard powder

1 clove garlic

1/4 c. flax oil

3/4 c. olive oil

Preparation
In blender, mix all ingredients except oil until totally pureed. With blender running, add oil in a thin stream until dressing is emulsified.

Asian Salad Dressing (Elana’s Pantry)

Ingredients

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar

1 tablespoons agave nectar

1 tablespoon orange juice, freshly squeezed

Preparation

In a medium mason jar, combine all ingredients. Shake well until combined.

My favourite salad and salad dressing recipes

2 HOURS TO DETOX!

So, in the spirit of getting things started, I thought I would share my favourite salad right now. And the salad dressing is one of the best I’ve had. It’s light with a little tang, but just enough to enhance the salad. Yum. I make a couple different versions – this one is simpler, but not quite as tangy.

Not that the point is to eat ONLY salad through the detox – there are plenty of wholesome delicious meals that you can make. But salad is definitely a part of it especially with summer coming, a time I find myself eating salads more and more.

Salad dressing is so easy, you never need to buy salad dressing again. It’s such a waste of money, and just have a look at the ingredients and the number of chemicals and preservatives in salad dressing. Share your favourite salad dressing recipe!
Might I also add that I’m finishing my pre-detox days with HEARTBURN!! What the h*LL!! It’s been so long since I’ve had it. And it’s so unpleasant. It will be gone by Tuesday…trust. (BTW – the image is NOT of the salad recipe below. I have to photograph it the next time I make it!)

My favourite salad

Ingredients:

lettuce – any type. Romaine, mixed greens

tomato

red pepper

cucumber slices

avocado slices

goat cheese (you can skip this if you like, but I like the texture it adds)

grilled chicken

And, for an extra kick, if you have a favourite steamed veggie, you can add a bit in as well. The mix of warm and cold ingredients goes really well.


My favourite salad dressing

Mix equal parts olive oil (or grapeseed oil) and Apple Cider vinegar.

Add a dash of maple syrup (you can skip if you like)

1/4 tsp mustard powder

clove of garlic (optional)

Mix together and serve over salad. You can make for just one salad, or make extra to have on hand.