We are nearing the end of the month and you may be wanting to know where Ruly Ruth is! Don’t be alarmed. She is alive and well, having just completed a cross-country move. She will be back next month with her usual humor and insight for us. This year, I asked Ruly Ruth to take on the challenge of helping us all to eat healthier by road-testing various healthy recipes to see how they work out for real people.
In Ruth’s absence, this month I will post an invented salad that we have been eating. This salad evolved mostly as a way to use up stuff we just happened to have in the fridge and freezer. It was also my answer to how to create a salad with some warmth to it because eating salad in the middle of winter can sometimes feel empty and unfulfilling. What I also like about it is that if you are the type of person who easily can buy a lot of fresh produce and then watch it sadly spoil because you aren’t using it, this recipe uses primarily frozen ingredients that you can use as you need them and there is no chopping of vegetables.
So first, the “recipe”:
Put some greens in a bowl. (We were trying to use up a huge container of organic spinach and mixed greens from Costco.)
Cook up some frozen mixed vegetables. When I was on my vegetable eating kick in November, I purchased two huge bags of delicious-looking Birds-Eye frozen mixed vegetables at Wal-Mart. There is a “Stir-Fry” one and a “Normandy” one. The Normandy mix has broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and squash. I just boiled some water on the stove and put them in but you could probably microwave them too.
Grill up some salmon. I used the frozen salmon burgers from Costco on our electric George Foreman grill where the grease runs right off into the drip pan and it is easy to clean.
Add the cooked hot veggies to the salad.
Cut up the salmon burger into strips and add that to the salad.
Add whatever else you would like. I used some guacamole and a few slices of cheddar cheese.
This is the Wholly Guacamole brand from Costco that you buy in a huge pack. You can freeze the unopened packs if you can’t use them right away and they will thaw in the fridge after about a day. After opening, if you can’t eat the whole container right away, I have found you can preserve it for a day or two without too much browning by putting the package in a sealed Tupperware-like container. Some also advocate putting a sprinkle of lemon juice on top if you have that.
I also put on some canned black beans and some salsa.
I didn’t have any dressing that matched my southwestern theme so I just left that off.
We made other versions where we left off the guacamole and salsa and used a poppyseed dressing.
I have no idea how many calories are in this salad but it is filling, packs in a lot of veggies, and we ate it as an entrée without any other sides.
For my (and your) nutritional education, however, I wanted to know whether it is “better” to put guacamole or dressing on the salad.
|Salad topping||Calories||Total Fat||Sat. Fat||Chol.||Sodium||Fiber|
|Brianna’s Poppyseed dressing (about 2 tablespoons)||160||14 g||1 g||0 g||220 mg||0 g|
|Wholly Guacamole (about ¼ cup)||120||5 g||1 g||0 g||90 mg||2 g|
I am not a nutritionist but it looks to me like these choices are about the same, although the guacamole has an edge because you can have twice as much for the same amount of calories. It is my understanding that the fat grams in the dressing although they look high could be the “healthy” fats. You do get a break on your sodium and pick up some fiber by switching to the guacamole, though. The guacamole claims it has “20 vitamins and minerals” but the dressing gives you 20% of your vitamin E.
So, my personal opinion is that you can pick whichever one helps make the salad go down easier for you. As for a real nutritionist, Rachel Beller for The Biggest Loser recently said on the show that you should aim for a dressing that is a maximum of 40-80 calories per 2 Tablespoons. So, she would probably get rid of the poppyseed and keep the guacamole but use half as much as I did. (She would probably take my cheese off too.)
What healthy recipes are you eating lately? Do you have a recipe you want Ruly Ruth to try? Please share in the comments.