QSS to the rescue!!

This past week I must say, the idea of cooking anything in kitchen in this scorching humidity is so not my thing.  Even the simple task of making an omelet or veggie burger is just too much to handle.  What do I do when it’s an oven outside?  QSS = Quick summer salads!  This is the part where D would intervene with a “My favorite date night was when we had a summer salad and watched the film Chocolat”.  As bromantical as that sounds, salads are definitely not so prissy.  With the right add-ins, salads can pack a big protein punch, and when the weather gets hot, they are the perfect thing to fill you up, but not weigh you down.

Here are some great, quick salads that are in my repetoire along with my very own, heavily-requested, homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe:

  • Lentil, apple, avocado:  Combine 1/2 cup lentils, 1/4 medium avocado, and 1/2 apple over arugula or spinach salad.  Toss with Newman’s own low fat Asian Sesame vinaigrette or balsamic.  If using balsamic, a dash of grated parmesan is also super yummy on top.
  • Taco salad:  Combine 1/2 cup black beans, 1/4 medium avocado, 1/4 lowfat mexican blend cheese, 1/4 or red. orange, or yellow bell pepper, and a couple of cherry tomatoes over romaine lettuce.  Use salsa and lime juice as dressing with a sprinkle of cumin on top.
  • Eggtastic salad:  For the crunchiest, most refreshing salad ever (when it’s a real scorcher outside) 1 hardboiled egg (choppped), 1 hardboiled egg white, grated carrots, sliced onions, sliced celery, 1/4 chopped bell pepper (any color), sliced radishes over spinach salad.  Top with whatever lowfat dressing you want (I like a vinaigrette).  I also add a couple shakes of turmeric (a spice that is very good for digestion and circulation and tastes super on salads).
  • Italian chicken salad:  1/2 grilled chicken breast, sliced or cubed, handful of halved cherry tomatoes, sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan, and a tablespoon of toasted pine nuts, serve over arugula and top with balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Israeli salad:  1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup cucumber, 1/4 medium avocado, handful of halved cherry tomatoes, 1/4 red bell pepper, served over spinach salad.  Mix with paprika, cumin, lemon juice, and a little balsamic vinegar.  Shalom!

Finally, the GS KICKASS balsamic vinaigrette:

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp walnut oil (olive oil and other interesting oils such as hazelnut, avocado, sesame, are all great too!)

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp honey or agave syrup

Whisk and combine!  Voila…a healthy vinaigrette!

Those are some basic recipes, but feel free to mix and match.  I love combining different lean proteins (chicken, tuna, legumes — chickpeas, lentils, black beans, veggie burgers (chopped up and added to salads), with various crunchy vegetables and some sort of healthy fat (nuts, avocado, olive oil).  Also, adding fruit is an awesome way to get fruit servings in and combine sweet and salty flavors (YUM).  Just make sure you don’t add too much of the more “rich” add-in such as cheese, avocado, nuts, and dried fruit — I try to do one in any salad to make it more satiating, but add them all and salad isn’t really a “healthy” food anymore.  I also prefer to either make my own dressing — dressing can be a huge source of sodium, or use a couple of very figure friendly, low fat dressings.  Newman’s Own makes some really awesome low-fat dressings and Annie’s low-fat Gingerly vinaigrette is another favorite.

Now let’s get chopping!

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hot and bothered « The Gotham Skinny

  2. Pingback: Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe | Vinegar Dressing

  3. Pingback: Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe | Vinegar Dressing

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