I used to only prepare Caesar Salads when I was having a large Italian or steak dinner. Now, I make them all of the time since my three kids (who are 8, 10 and 11) love them so much. This version is only five ingredients which is perfect this time of year when you want to eat light (and celebrate Earth Day) but also are in a hurry. Purchase already-peeled and deveined shrimp to save time, or substitute chicken or salmon for the shrimp. If I don’t have time to prepare a homemade dressing, I buy Ken’s Reduced-Fat Caesar dressing, which is really yummy.
This salad is so simple and so delicious! The combination of fresh spinach, basil, chopped pine nuts, turkey and Parmesan create an incredible healthy, fresh, main-dish salad. I served this salad for dinner, and it disappeared faster than I could blink. Serve it with your favorite vinaigrette or just a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil. It has so many great flavors already, so it doesn’t need a lot of dressing. Welcome in spring with clean eating and this fresh salad.
Since spring is around the corner, I was getting so excited that I decided to make my favorite spring/summer salad. And since I have tomato and basil on my mind from yesterday’s blog, I thought I would give you this recipe that is so easy and a true favorite at my house. Serve it with practically any main dish. Even my kids eat this salad, and they especially like it when I serve it with some warm crusty bread. Don’t forget to serve it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar so they can dip.
Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad
For an extra sprinkling of color, use multi-colored peppercorns and grind them over the salad just before serving.
Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese*
2 large red tomatoes, sliced
1 large yellow tomato, sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded or chopped fresh basil
1. Remove cheese from brine, and cut into 12 slices; sprinkle tomato slices. Alternate tomato and cheese slices on a platter; drizzle with olive oil. Cover and chill 4 hours if desired. Just before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Note:*Fresh mozzarella is a soft white cheese available in the gourmet cheese section of any local grocery stores.
Iceberg wedge salads are so fresh, delicious and best of all, simple. This one is a low-fat main-dish salad topped with shrimp and turkey bacon. I developed a low-fat blue cheese dressing to go with it, but if you’re short on time, use a bottled blue cheese or even vinaigrette dressing instead. This recipe is so simple: 21 minutes and dinner’s on the table.
Shrimp Iceberg Wedge
If you’re short on time, cook turkey bacon in microwave on HIGH 21/2 to 3 minutes or until crispy.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon bottled hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled Blue cheese
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large head iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 wedges, with core attached
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled into pieces
1 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
Pita wedges (optional)
1. Combine mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, hot sauce and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Add blue cheese, stirring until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Preheat grill saute pan or grill pan to medium-high heat.
3. Drizzle shrimp with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place shrimp on grill rack or grill pan coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done.
4. Arrange lettuce wedges on serving plates. Top with bacon, tomato, onion and shrimp. Spoon dressing evenly over each wedge.
I am amazed how many subscribers and fans on facebook I have that are college students, and I thank all of you and am so excited that ya’ll are cooking while in college! Carlie, a college senior at the University of Georgia, has particularly enjoyed when I post salad recipes, and she told me she has tried all of them. She asked me to “keep them coming” so Carlie, this one’s for you. This salad is a cinch! The ingredients are very simple and easy to find. Feel free to substitute salmon for the chicken or even add thin cooked vermicelli or rice noodles to this salad. I kept the dressing very light, but it is a little tangy so if you want to add more oil, feel free.
Asian Chicken Salad
Prep: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
5 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 large seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tomato, thinly sliced
11/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canola or sesame oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Combine lettuce and next 8 ingredients in a large salad bowl. Whisk together rice wine vinegar and remaining ingredients and pour over salad, tossing gently.
This is one of my favorite salads that I raced to the kitchen and developed after I saw a similar salad at a really cool and eclectic restaurant new to downtown Birmingham, AL called Urban Standard. The combination of walnuts, strawberries, blueberries and goat cheese with a vinaigrette made from pomegranate juice and flaxeed oil create the ultimate healthy salad. If you’re really short on time, omit the dressing and use your favorite bottled light balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette. And, if you want to make this a main-dish dinner salad, add 2 cups grilled or cooked chopped chicken or salmon.
By the way, I heard from six different people yesterday from California, two in Nashville, two in Birmingham, Atlanta and even New Jersey who were making my Rigatoni for dinner last night. Thanks for all the awesome support! Best, Alison
Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
21/2 teaspoons flaxseed oil
4 cups fresh mixed greens
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 (4.4-ounce) package fresh blueberries
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (if you don’t like goat cheese, you can use feta)
1. Whisk together raspberry vinegar, pomegranate juice, honey, mint, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly add flaxseed oil, whisking to combine; set aside.
2. Combine mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese in a large serving bowl. Add vinaigrette, tossing well.
Here is a healthy, simple salad recipe which has a few of my favorite ingredients: basil, mint, dried cranberries, almonds and Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous is a small, round semolina pasta which is very versatile, and kids love it. It works great in this combination served over romaine lettuce leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Feel free to substitute dried cherries for the cranberries, pine nuts or walnuts for the almonds and any of your favorite lettuces or spinach for the romaine. Here’s to a healthy fresh start to the New Year!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
11/2 cups Israeli couscous (or any small pasta)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1. Bring broth and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to a boil; pour over couscous; bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes until still firm to the bite.
2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, zest and pepper; let cool.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.
4. Toss romaine lettuce with fresh herbs, dried cherries, and almonds, tossing gently to combine. Top with couscous and drizzle with balsamic dressing.
In the southern United Sates, it is believed that eating black-eyed peas on New Years will bring good luck in the coming year. Because of this tradition, many friends and family ask me for recipes using black-eye peas this time of year. This recipe is great because it’s so versatile. It is simple to prepare, colorful and flavorful. Even my youngest son, Zachary (8), couldn’t stop eating it. Serve it on top of a salad, inside of bell peppers, on top of tacos or fajitas or served with crackers or tortilla chips.
Black-Eyed Pea Caviar Dip
Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 10 servings
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell peppper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Whisk together balsamic vinegar and next 2 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Add black-eyed peas and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; drizzle with dressing. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.
Sometimes the most difficult part about the Thanksgiving or holiday menus is figuring out what type of salad to serve. This recipe is perfect with the holiday turkey with the crunch of cashew nuts, the sweetness of golden raisins, and the tartness of Granny Smith Apples served over baby spinach leaves. It’s one of my holiday staples that friends and family look forward to every year. It’s also perfect for a quick, healthy weeknight salad served with chicken, fish or pork.
Spinach Apple Salad
Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach
4 small Granny Smith apples, chopped
3/4 cup cashews, toasted (pecan halves may also be used)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large salad bowl.
2. Whisk together sugar and next 4 ingredients until blended. Serve dressing with salad.
Note: You can chill dressing up to 1 day; whisk well before serving.