Sesame Ginger Spinach Salad with Shrimp & Oranges

Sesame Ginger Spinach Salad with Shrimp & Oranges Low Fat Recipe

Sesame Ginger Spinach Salad with Shrimp & Oranges
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved
Vegetarian Substitutes

Here’s a fabulous entree salad which takes only moments to throw together, while having a great “wow” factor. Easy to make any day for lunch or dinner, it’s also elegant enough to serve for special guests. And talk about a nutrition powerhouse – spinach, red cabbage, fresh oranges and simply steamed shrimp – you’ve got your iron and minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and high quality protein all on one plate. Jazz it up with the simple dressing, add some kick with sliced scallions – delicious and nutritious!    ~ Susan

Ingredients:

For the salad

12 large (31-40 count) steamed shrimp – chilled
6 cups baby spinach
3/4 cups julienned red cabbage
3/4 cup sliced scallions
1 small orange – peeled and sliced

For the dressing

1 tablespoon honey + 1 tablespoon warm water – combined
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon peanut oil or canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry ground ginger

Instructions:

To make the dressing, combine the honey and water in a measuring cup or small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

For the salad, toss spinach, cabbage and dressing together in a mixing bowl. Use tongs to divide mixture equally onto two large plates, reserving the remaining dressing which collects in the bottom of the bowl. Arrange the oranges and shrimp on top of the salads and garnish with plenty of sliced scallions. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the shrimp and oranges and serve!

Serving Suggestions:

To make a more robust meal serve a side bowl of brown rice for each portion with a simple miso broth poured into it, garnished with strips of toasted nori seaweed, or more scallions.

If you like a spicy-hot salad dressing – add a few dashes of Asian style hot sauce to the mixture.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Use cubed tofu in place of the shrimp, or for a special treat try it with a handful of toasted cashews instead!

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Creamy Beet Salad

Creamy Beet Salad Low Fat Recipe

Creamy Beet Salad
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers

In this recipe, simply steamed beets are paired with a ridiculously easy dressing and some crisp raw red onion to create an elegant appetizer or side dish that is a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. While beets are available all year round, their peak season around these parts is from June through October, so I’ve been taking advantage of the gorgeous varieties available from our local farmers lately. When you buy a bunch, save those beet greens too – they’re fantastic sauteed with a touch of garlic or added to soups!   ~ Susan

Ingredients:

2 medium-small beets, or 1 large
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion or sweet vidalia onion
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional – chopped parsley, dill or chervil for garnish

Instructions:

Scrub the beets well or peel them.

Slice into thin slices.

Steam beet slices for 3 minutes or just until fork-tender.

Let beet slices cool to room temperature.

In a small dish combine mayo, vinegar, a touch of salt and a good dose of pepper.

Place beets, red onion, and dressing mixture into a mixing bowl and toss gently just until combined. Divide equally onto two plates.

Garnish with fresh chopped herb of your choice and serve!

Serving Suggestions:

I like this salad on its own as an appetizer or snack.

It’s a great side dish for lemony grilled chicken, along with some green vegetables such as steamed broccoli, asparagus or green beans or a green salad.

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Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad
Serves 3 to 4
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

Sometime in early June, Mahir was beginning to tire of the usual lunches he took to work. He liked the poached chicken salad and leftovers I packed but was asking for something new. Inspired by summer and the mood to cook a meatless main dish that was light but satisfying, I came up with this recipe. Mahir loves Greek salad so I used that as my inspiration. Instead of leaves, I used quinoa, and I added chickpeas for some satisfying protein and fiber. I’ve had had trouble getting him to eat quinoa in the past, but he came home with an empty lunch box, and I’ve made it several times since.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 cup of uncooked quinoa
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice, to taste

Instructions:

Cook quinoa as per package instructions.

Mix with all the other ingredients and season with lots of lemon juice and salt and pepper until the salad is to your liking.

Serving Suggestions:

You get in your protein, carbs and veggies with this dish so there’s really no need to add in anything else. You can substitute grilled chicken bits for the chickpeas for some variety.

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Chilled Gazpacho Soup

chilled gazpacho soup lowfat recipe

Chilled Gazpacho Soup
Serves 2 – 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved

Sometimes, on a hot, humid day, coming up with an appetizing meal can be challenging. On days like that we make gazpacho. Run out to the garden (or farmers market), pick up the goods, grab a can of tomatoes from the pantry, and make a date with your blender! It’s easy, quick, and tastes like a delicious, zesty blended salad in a soup bowl. You can serve it as an appetizer or a salad course with a larger meal, but it’s also perfect as a light lunch or quick snack on its own. Being free of any fats or oils, and made primarily from fresh veggies and herbs along with a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt, it’s naturally cleansing and invigorating for the body. You just feel good after enjoying a bowl of fresh, homemade gazpacho.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber – roughly chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper – seeded and roughly chopped
1 green pepper – seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 of a large vidalia onion – roughly chopped
1 large or 2 smaller garlic cloves – minced
2 roma tomatoes (or equivalent – roughly chopped)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 14.5 oz can of whole tomatoes plus the juices – we really like Muir Glen brand
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

Put everything except salt & pepper in a blender (in smaller batches if needed) and blend until nicely pureed, while still leaving a bit of texture left in the mix.

Season to taste with salt & pepper.

You might like it with more lemon added, which really livens up the whole flavor.

Serving Suggestions:

Gazpacho is perfect “as is” but you can jazz it up when serving with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of cayenne pepper, and/or a garnish of fresh snipped herbs such as parsley, chives or scallions.

Toasted whole grain bread topped with a slice of cheese makes this a complete meal, and one you’ll probably be craving again soon!

For a gourmet appetizer serve small bowls of chilled gazpacho topped with chilled cajun-seasoned shrimp and a sprinkle of grilled corn kernels. Gorgeous and delicious.

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Tuna Salad with Green Apple, Red Onion, Parsley & Celery

tuna apple salad low carb

Tuna Salad with Green Apple, Red Onion, Parsley & Celery
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers

This record breaking heat wave across the state of New York = lots of salads on the menu! Here’s my all-time favorite tuna salad. It’s got a great mixture of textures, colors and flavors. You can eat a large portion of this salad and still not get too full, because it’s mostly vegetables and apples with some tuna mixed in! We make up a double batch of this recipe every couple of weeks and enjoy two meals for two  from each one. Day 1: we put it over a salad for dinner. Day 2: the leftover tuna salad makes a great sandwich!      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 can chunk light tuna in water or skipjack tuna in water (lower in mercury than white albacore), or, check out American Tuna for a good, sustainable and safe-to-eat tuna
3/4 cup finely diced green apple
3/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced parsley
3/4 cup finely diced celery
1 tablespoon mayo of your choice
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

Open the can of tuna and drain only half the liquid into a small bowl.

Put tuna and remaining liquid in a mixing bowl and add all of the other ingredients.

Mix well, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If mixture seems too dry, add some of the remaining tuna liquid.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve tuna salad over a big bed of fresh greens with lemon wedges and a little drizzle of olive oil if you like.

Enjoy as a sandwich on whole grain bread with lots of lettuce piled on too!

I love it even more with a few dashes of hot sauce on top. I especially like Melinda’s original hot sauce for this one.

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Poached Chicken Salad

Poached Chicken Salad
Serves 2
Can be doubled| Can be halved| Makes great leftovers

I can’t take complete credit for this recipe. Back when Susan used to cook for us, I was desperate for tasty yet light lunch options, and this was one of the first creations she presented me with. I was blown away right away, but I never thought to ask her for the recipe because I always imagined it as something complicated. But I had such an intense craving for it when I was pregnant, and when I called to ask her how to make it, I was stunned by the simplicity. Indian style curry powder isn’t something that’s traditionally used in chicken salad, but that’s the touch which makes this a unique recipe. I make it a few times a week for lunch when I’m home. Meenakshi shares it with me, and Mahir often requests it to take for lunch as well. Three happy Voras with one easy recipe.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon of low-calorie vegan mayo (I love the one by Spectrum)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Boil the chicken breasts in a pot of water until done, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the breast, reserving about a tablespoon of the water.

Once cool, shred with your fingers or finely chop with a knife.

Mix with the vegetables, spices, mayo, cilantro and water (this makes the salad especially moist).

Serving Suggestions:

Try this salad tucked inside a whole wheat pita, in between two slices of bread or on top of greens with some whole grain crackers on the side. Canned tuna would also make a great substitution.

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Ultimate Vegetable Salad with Lemon Mustard Dressing


Ultimate Vegetable Salad with Lemon Mustard Dressing
Serves 1 to 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

Any who knows me well knows that I start off nearly every dinner with a big plate of salad. I try to get as many different vegetables as I can in there with as many different colors. It looks pretty, is loaded with vitamins and because I try and buy the highest quality produce I can, it tastes pretty darn good too. I find a good salad very satisfying, and if I go for a few days without having one, I find myself craving it. I’ve experimented with different dressings, but this one is a staple. You can make a bigger batch and store it in a container in the fridge to use all week long.     ~Shivani

Ingredients for Salad:

1 head of endive, individual leaves torn
1 cup of chopped radicchio
1 cup of chopped red leaf lettuce
1 cup of chopped butter lettuce (also known as Boston lettuce)
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 red pepper, cut into thin slices
1/2 orange pepper, cut into strips and then chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped or 3 to 4 cocktail tomatoes chopped

Ingredients for Dressing:

the juice of two lemons
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

For the salad:

Arrange the endive leaves around a large plate, layer with lettuces and then vegetables.

For the dressing:

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.

Add in olive oil in a slow stream and blend well.

Serving Suggestions:

This salad is an ideal starter or side dish for any meal. To make it a meal in and of itself, top it with some form of protein such as a grilled chicken breast, can of tuna, grilled tofu, 1/2 cup of your favorite bean or two fried eggs.

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Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans & Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans and Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans & Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Vegetarian Substitutes

Sweet, tart, savory, tangy, earthy, it’s all in there, and good for you too. The fig balsamic dressing will knock your socks off – so rich and creamy it’s hard to believe there’s only a tablespoon of oil in the whole batch! When you combine it with the other textures and flavors in this eye-catching composed salad, it’s really worth the steps it takes to get the finished dish on the plate. And truly, each step is easy and quick. If you’re pressed for time or like to prep things in advance, this is a great recipe to have on hand. Grilled chicken breast keeps for days in the fridge, as does the dressing and the spiced nuts when stored in airtight containers. Another time saver – buy crumbled goat cheese so that when you’re ready to serve you can put it all together in a snap.   ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 boneless skinless chicken breast – sliced into 2 cutlets
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
4-5 cups baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt & ground black pepper

1 dried turkish fig, chopped into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Chicken: Brush the chicken cutlets lightly with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and grill just until cooked throughout. Cool and slice on the diagonal into thin slices.

Pecans: In a small bowl stir together the honey, water, salt & pepper. Toss the nuts well to coat in the mixture and toast in a 300F oven for just a few minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Time saver – use parchment paper on the baking sheet to make cleanup a non-issue.

Dressing: Put the chopped fig, balsamic and red wine vinegars, honey or agave nectar and water into the blender, cover and blend until nicely emusified. Add more water if you want it thinner. Season to taste with sea salt & plenty of fresh ground pepper and blend again.

Compose the salad: Arrange a bed of spinach leaves on 2 plates, top artfully with the chicken slices, crumbled goat cheese and spiced pecans. Serve the dressing on the side so each person can drizzle as much as they like.

Serving Suggestions:

Warm or toasted whole grain bread makes a nice accompaniment. If you’re really hungry, add a cup of soup too – carrot ginger, butternut squash, or mushroom soup would be good choices.

Substitutions:

Try ripe pear slices in place of the chicken breast, it’s fantastic!

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Shredded Chicken and Cabbage Salad Dressed with Nuoc Nam

vietnamese chicken cabbage salad

Shredded Chicken and Cabbage Salad Dressed with Nuoc Nam
2 – 3 generous servings
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers
Vegetarian substitutes

This is my re-creation of the same dish served at Van’s, our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Albany, NY. It’s another fantastic no-oil recipe to add to your collection. Yeah right, a delicious salad with no oil?  Seriously, trust me.  When you’ve got nuoc nam as the dressing, all you need is a garnish of chopped peanuts and you’re all set. We love this salad for spring and summer, it’s crunchy and satisfying with fresh, vibrant flavors. Even when Scott and I are the only two at the dinner table I always make a whole batch – leftovers make a great lunch the following day. You’ll probably end up with some extra nuoc nam, which is a good thing! It keeps very well in the fridge and you’ll no doubt find yummy uses for it, I mention a few ideas below.     ~ Susan

Ingredients – Nuoc Nam Sauce:

2 cloves garlic – minced
3 tablespoons sugar, sucanat or agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
½ cup warm water
6 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce)
optional – ½ teaspoon hot chile flakes or hot chile sauce, or a few slices of fresh hot chiles

Mix all sauce ingredients together until the sugar or sucanat is completely dissolved. Store in a jar in the fridge. This is a great marinade for meats, chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu….

Ingredients – For the salad:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts – each sliced in half to make 2 cutlets
4 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage (or buy pre-shredded cabbage in the grocery store)
½ cup fresh basil leaves – torn into bite size pieces
1 cup coarsely shredded or julienned carrots
½ cup thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts for garnish

Instructions:

Poach the chicken cutlets for a few minutes (no more than 5) or until just cooked throughout. Remove them from poaching water and set on a plate to cool to room temperature. You can save poaching water in the fridge or freezer to use as a future soup or sauce base.

When chicken is cooled, slice each cutlet in half to make two long strips, and shred the meat with your fingers.

Meanwhile assemble your other ingredients.

Place the cabbage, basil leaves, carrots and onions in a large mixing bowl.

Add shredded chicken.

Toss mixture with just enough nuoc nam sauce to flavor the dish to your liking. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes and stir once more.

Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

Serving Suggestions:

This salad is great served atop a big lettuce leaf with a side of warm rice vermicelli simply seasoned with a little soy sauce (I use wheat-free tamari to keep it gluten-free). Or if you’ve got the time and inclination, summer rolls filled with sauteed mushrooms, cilantro and rice vermicelli are a great accompaniment too. Dip the rolls in nuoc nam or a little soy sauce mixed with fresh lime juice.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Shredded seitan would work instead of chicken. And you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce.

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Red Cabbage, Kale and Carrot Salad

Red Cabbage, Carrot & Kale Salad Recipe

Red Cabbage, Kale and Carrot Salad
Serves 2 – 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved

This really is a perfect little winter salad. All three of these hearty vegetables are easy to find during cold weather. They also keep well when stored in the fridge. In fact, that’s how this recipe came to be created in our own kitchen. We were roasting a chicken for dinner one Sunday afternoon and I was looking for something salad-y to go with it. We had no lettuce, so I dug around in the vegetable crisper. Within minutes a nutritious, delicious, seasonal salad was born. The colors are gorgeous. The flavors are earthy and fresh. The dressing – so simple, yet it really brings the whole dish to life! You can easily turn this into an entree salad by tossing in some protein such as cubed tofu or shredded chicken. Try experimenting with different oils, too. Each offers its own nuance to the flavor of the finished dish.     ~ Susan

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups julienned red cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups julienned kale
juice of 1 large lemon (about a quarter cup)
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari (soy sauce)
2 teaspoons oil of your choice – I’ve used extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed walnut oil, unrefined peanut oil and toasted sesame oil, all with delicious results

Instructions

Place the prepped veggies in a mixing bowl.

Drizzle in the lemon, tamari and oil.

Toss well.

Taste and add a bit more tamari if you like. The small amount of oil is just enough to tie everything together.

Serving Suggestions

This salad is great with grilled chicken cutlets or a whole roasted chicken. Add a side of quinoa or boiled new potatoes and dinner is served.

Try this salad with pan seared tofu, broiled fish or grilled steak and a side of brown rice.

Add some cubed tofu or shredded chicken into the salad and serve over a small nest of whole wheat angel hair or buckwheat soba noodles (add more tamari and lemon as needed to keep the flavors lively).

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