Hearty Salad: 3 Ways

Oh hi. How’s it going?

Here’s a little update on me, for those who don’t already know. The last day of July was also the last day of my former career. You know, the one that I’ve been trying to change for the past 9 years. Since then, I finished my summer anatomy and physiology class (a year’s worth in 12 weeks), finished an online statistics course, pushed through some serious anxiety to attempt some networking, got my NASM personal training certification, started a food science class, started new workouts, achieved my goal of 205lb deadlifts, and got the personal training process started. It has been a complete lifestyle overhaul, which has simultaneously been both terrifying and wonderful. One of the perks is that I’m often home to experiment with lunch ideas.

I’ve never understood the people who say, “Oh, I’ll just have a salad for lunch,” meaning one of those lettuce-tomato-cucumber-and-nothing-else salads. How do they not spend all afternoon with their stomachs growling? To me it’s like eating air. So anyway, when I think about lunch, my mind immediately goes to some kind of sandwich or wrap. I have no problem consuming enough carbs from other sources, so I try to avoid bread when I feel like it’s not worth it. My lunch solution lately has been to convert my sandwich idea to a salad. A delicious, hearty, satisfying salad, with protein and healthy fat! Ooh, exciting!

Salad #1: Morningstar black bean veggie burger, salsa, 1/4 avocado, fried egg, and salad greens.

Black bean veggie burger, egg, avocado, salsa, and greens.

Black bean veggie burger, egg, avocado, salsa, and greens.

Salad #2: Buffalo Chik’n Salad. I cooked a Quorn Naked Cutlet in Frank’s RedHot Original sauce, then sliced it and added it to a bed of baby spinach with crumbled feta cheese and avocado. I will use blue cheese next time. It also would be good over massaged kale instead of spinach.

Quorn cutlet, Frank's RedHot, avocado, feta, and baby spinach.

Quorn cutlet, Frank’s RedHot, avocado, feta, and baby spinach.

Salad #3: Fall Celebration Salad! We picked 32 pounds of apples. We obviously had to have brie on hand to go with our apples and freshly made apple butter. This combination obviously needed to go into a salad. So, I sauteed a serving of Gardein mandarin orange crispy chik’n (but without the orange sauce), and then added about 1 tbsp of apple butter to it. This went over a bed of baby arugula, chopped apple, brie, and hazelnuts. Not the healthiest choice, but sooooo good!

Apple butter chik'n, brie, apple, hazelnuts, and baby arugula.

Apple butter chik’n, brie, apple, hazelnuts, and baby arugula.

So, the lesson learned today is that salads do not have to be boring and unsatisfying.

Enjoy!

Fun with our 6/10/10 CSA pickup- Swiss Chard and Chioggia Beets

The first night, the kohlrabi was a side dish for Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard from www.cookinglight.com. We had leftovers of the polenta dish, so the second night, I made a salad with the Chioggia beets and pea tendrils. Our CSA gave us pea tendrils last week, but we weren’t that impressed. They were tough and kind of difficult to work with. I saw smaller ones at the Copley farmers market and decided to give them another try. I thought that the delicate flavor of the pea tendrils would compliment the sweetness of the beets nicely.

Roasted Beet Salad (for 2 people)

  • 3-4 roasted Chioggia (or any) beets
  • 3 cups of pea tendrils
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1/3 cup orange muskat vinegar (or combine regular vinegar with orange juice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Cut stems of beets so that only about 1 inch is still attached. Wrap beets (including skins) in foil and roast for about 45 minutes. Once you can easily pierce them with a fork, remove them from the oven and let them sit until cool enough to handle. I got impatient and threw mine in the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, you should be able to easily slip the skins off. I chose to slice mine, but wedges would work just as well.

Wash pea tendrils, coarsley chop and arrange beets on top. Add baby carrots and crumbled goat cheese. Mix together the olive oil and vinegar with some salt and pepper. I am in love with the Orange Muskat vinegar from Trader Joe’s, but I would think that mixing some orange juice with white vinegar would work too. Once mixed, drizzle over salad.

Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard (from www.cookinglight.com).

Preheat oven to 400.

Chard:

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard*
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp water

Polenta:

  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 14.5 oz can vegetable broth (or equivalent w/veggie bouillon)
  • 1 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 c (2 oz.) crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated fresh parmesan
  • 1/4 c reduced fat sour cream

*Note: If you make this recipe with the beet salad, you could replace one bunch of chard with the beet greens, if they are still in good shape.

Wash the chard and remove stems and ribs. Discard the stems and coarsley chop the ribs, along with the leaves. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the ribs and water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the leaves, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted.

In a large saucepan, combine water, salt, and broth. Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 8 minutes. Whisk in cheeses until thoroughly combined.

To assemble, spray a 2-qt. baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the polenta into the dish. Top with chard mixture. Spoon sour cream on top of chard. Spread remaining half of polenta on top of sour cream layer. Baked for about 20 min. and let it stand for 5 min. before serving. Recipes makes 6 servings, but we cut it into 4.