Kale Salad: Family Friendly, Gluten Free and Healthy

If you are trying to eat healthy and want to get your year started off right, this Kale Salad recipe is ideal. I recently made this for the kids, and they loved it. It is great on its own as a salad or side dish, served over arugula or greens or even mixed into a salad with chicken, shrimp or fish. For some information on health benefits of kale, see my article on the 10 health benefits in MindBodyGreen or how kale can save your sex life in this article (which I did not write) in MindBodyGreen. I hope you will enjoy this family-friendly, simple vegetarian recipe anytime of the year.

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint

Quinoa is one of my favorite Super Foods of 2012. I talked a great deal about quinoa this weekend at my nutrition/healthy eating seminar including how to pronounce it, purchase it and cook it. I had a lot of wonderful questions regarding this gluten-free grain. One serving of quinoa provides all 8 essential amino acids, and it is high in protein and fiber. It’s also a wonderful grain for those on a gluten-free diet, and it works wonderful for breakfast, a side, in soups and salads. I recommend buying the rinsed version to make your life even easier. I developed this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint for Thanksgiving for Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms Turkey. It makes a great side dish or salad, and my kids absolutely loved it. Add grilled chicken or shrimp if you wish for a main dish salad.

Fennel-Apple Slaw


I am a huge fennel fan so this recipe for Fennel-Apple Slaw is one of my new fall favorites. Fennel, which looks like a cross between an onion and a bunch of celery, has a slightly sweet anise (licorice) flavor. It has the perfect crunch to pair with shredded cabbage, and it makes a great addition to any salad or slaw recipe. I love it in this vegetarian combination with Greek yogurt, walnuts, dried cranberries and fresh dill. Fennel is also good for you, containing Vitamins A and C, fiber, folate, potassium and calcium.

Bistro Pasta Salad

As you know, for the past month I have been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day 2011 campaign. To help encourage families to take their health into their own hands, I developed the “Home is Where the Heart Is” Recipe Collection, which is filled with delicious, healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S for men and women as well as something that has affected my family directly. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has continued to grow at an alarming rate. The reason this is so disturbing is because research has shown that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Obesity is a huge risk factor for CVD but one that is preventable with diet and exercise. That is why teaching my children healthy eating habits is so important to me – and something that can start right here at home.

As a mother of three, I wholly understand the challenges of being a busy, working mom and getting healthy meals on the table – not to mention making something the kids will eat! When developing this recipe collection, I really tried to consider what would be fast, economical, healthy and delicious for the entire family, and I think I accomplished just that.

As a common ingredient in all these recipes, I chose to use canola oil. It has the least amount of saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. Its versatility in cooking and baking simplify my life even more, and it’s inexpensive! This coming Thursday, Sept. 29, is World Heart Day. To celebrate, I will be hosting a Facebook Party on CanolaInfo’s Facebook page from 7-8 PM CST! I will be discussing ways to be heart-smart at home by getting your whole family involved. I hope you will share your own tips and stories as well. Ten of you will be chosen at random to receive a CanolaInfo Heart Health Toolkit. You can RSVP here.

So Simple, So Summery, So Good: Watermelon-Tomato and Arugula Salad

This Watermelon-Tomato, Arugula Salad is a true taste of summer. This salad was inspired by a similar salad I had at George’s Restaurant in Alys Beach, Florida, one of my favorite places. The fresh combination of peppery arugula topped with sweet watermelon, mild yellow tomatoes and flavorful goat cheese mesh together perfectly. You don’t even need to use olive oil because it’s so healthy and low in fat. I drizzled mine with balsamic vinegar and fresh pepper, and that’s all I needed. Feel free to add grilled shrimp or grilled chicken to make this a main-dish salad as well. This is definitely my new favorite summer salad.

Easy Grilled Italian Romaine Salad

Perfect for a busy weeknight or Sunday afternoon, this Easy Grilled Romaine Salad is so flavorful. Use a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette to marinate the vegetables, and then grill them to bring out their flavor even more. Gorgonzola tastes great sprinkled on top, but you may substitute feta, Parmesan or goat cheese if you wish. Feel free to add grilled chicken, steak or shrimp for a main-dish salad. Serve with some crusty bread and olive oil, and dinner is ready.

Kañiwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes: Gluten-Free Super Food

Kañiwa, pronounced “ka-nyi-wa”, has been cutlivated in South America for thousands of years. Kañiwa is gluten-free and a great power food. It has been called the “new quinoa”. It is a cousin to quinoa but, actually, has higher protein, fiber and antioxidants along with significant levels of calcium, zinc and iron. Its nutty taste is unique, and it tastes even better than tabbouleh in this recipe for Kañiwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes. To prepare it, you just boil water or broth, add the Kañiwa, cook and cover for 15 minutes. It’s a breeze and a nutritional powerhouse. For more information, see Roland Foods on where to find it. Trust me. You will be hearing a lot more about this incredible grain.

Tabouli and Mixed Greens Salad

Okay, so Valentine’s Day is over, and I had a lot of fun featuring some great desserts. Now, it’s back to reality. I have had many requests lately for a wonderful, healthy salad recipe. I love this particular creation of Tabouli and Mixed Greens Salad. Feel free to add cooked or grilled chicken or shrimp to this dish if you wish. I love it “as is” for a hearty lunch salad or dinner salad – perfect served with a comforting soup. It’s so fresh and flavorful, and bulgur is so good for you. Bulgur is high in fiber, low in fat, and rich in B vitamins and iron. It can be boiled or soaked like in my recipe below. This salad is so tasty and pretty, and it will also give you a lot of energy. Just try it and see.

Super Foods Salad: Watermelon and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

I wanted to make a great Labor Day salad, but wanted to include my favorite “super foods”. I tossed some fresh arugula with watermelon, blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese (I love Belle Chevre) and drizzled it with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There you have it. Not only is this so beautiful to serve, but so healthy and incredibly delicious.  Great for Labor Day or any day!

Super-Healthy Salad in 20 Minutes

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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


Super-Healthy Salad

Prep: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

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)

Preparation

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.