Browsing Category: dairy-free salads & dressings

Coconut Shrimp on Spinach Mango Salad

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My husband’s favorite Paleo/Whole30 dinner:
This Coconut Shrimp recipe from Paleo Leap…
Paleo/whole30 dinner: coconut shrimp on mango spinach salad

…on top of this Asian Spinach Salad recipe from Love and Olive Oil (with some mangos added)…

Paleo/whole30 dinner: mango spinach salad
…got us this deeelicious dinner tonight!
Paleo/whole30 dinner: coconut shrimp on mango spinach salad
I made the shrimp without any changes, and added mango to the salad. (Any eagle-eyed readers might also notice sunflower seeds in the bowl, but I think they were unnecessary.) Taste- and texture-wise, the avocado got lost in the mix, I think, but it adds a nice color to the visual experience. And, of course, some healthy fats!
Tasting the dressing as the recipe calls it, I was worried it would be too sour, so I added some fresh-squeezed orange juice and a bit of date paste, but once I tasted it mixed into the whole salad, with the sweetness of the mangoes and oranges, I’m not sure that was necessary.
The contrast between the delicately crunchy shrimp and the smooth mangoes, between the tart dressing and the sweet fruit — mmmwah!

This is Whole30 compliant! If I weren’t avoiding processed foods, I’d be tempted to buy ready-breaded coconut shrimp to speed the process. It wasn’t hard; just kinda time consuming. Might go a little quicker if you had a two-person assembly team.

Spinach salad with strawberries

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Spinach salad with strawberries is my second-favorite salad of all time, a close second to quinoa and spinach salad — and no surprise there, since they contain many of the same ingredients.

I think a big part of what keeps this one at the top of my list over other green salads is that I only buy strawberries when they’re in season. (My test for whether they’re good and ripe? If there’s a box of them at table height and I can smell them when standing over them, they’re good!) And since here in Kansas, good strawberries are only available April through June, this salad is a rare treat.

(SO jealous of my niece who lives in California, and can get amazing ripened-in-the-field strawberries year-round!)

It’s good with or without chicken, and all ingredients can be adjusted to your taste.

Spinach salad with strawberries

Recipe: Spinach salad with strawberries

For each individual salad:
2.5 oz. baby spinach (or thereabouts)
sliced fresh strawberries, to your taste (maybe 1/2 a cup?)
1 – 3 T. feta cheese, seasoned or plain (leave out for Whole30)
red onion, sliced thin; amount to taste
1.4 c. pecan halves (or to taste)
half of a seasoned, cooked chicken breast (about 3 oz.) – optional
balsamic vinaigrette or onion poppyseed dressing, to taste

(or the Whole30 compliant dressing of your choice)

Combine all ingredients; toss; enjoy!
—————-
Nutrition info, according to myfitnesspal.com:
Calories: 444
Carbs: 17
Fat: 32
Protein: 24
Sodium:  780
Sugar: 9

Super-simple creamy Italian dressing

creamy Italian dressing - sugar-free option

Creamy Italian dressing is one of my husband’s favorite salad dressings. It’s getting harder to find in the grocery store, and the ones that we had tried tasted so fake and sugary — the side effect of making pretty much all your salad dressings from scratch.

Then I found this one! The original recipe is on AllRecipes, but I’ve tweaked it to make it my own; I reduced the sugar and made a few other minor tweaks. Make it without the sugar, and use homemade mayo, and you’ve got a Paleo, Whole30-compliant Italian dressing!

Tried it; loved it; it’s a keeper!

I made it as a spread/dip for homemade submarine sandwiches a couple nights ago. My husband still misses a sub that Pizza Hut used to have on the menu, which had a similar spread on it, and this recipe is a good fit. Then the next day for lunch, I had a sub-sandwich-inspired salad (shown in the photo above). Romaine lettuce with diced ham, pepperoni, and salami; mozzarella cheese, and diced tomatoes. And pickled onions — which are also a great sandwich topper.

It’s really quick and easy to make. Tastes best if you make it a few hours or a day ahead, but I’ve made some notes in the recipe about how to adapt it if you need to serve it right away.

Yay! No more store-bought creamy Italian dressing!

Creamy Italian Dressing (low or no sugar)

1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. water
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. granulated onion
1/4 t. white sugar*
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Place the minced garlic and olive oil in a small dish and microwave for 30 seconds.

Combine this and all the other ingredients in a 12 – 16 oz. jar and shake well.

Refrigerate for a few hours; better overnight.

*If you will be storing it 24 hours before use, you might skip the sugar. If you are living sugar-free, you can leave it out or replace it with your favorite sweetener. If you will be serving it right away, you might want to reduce the vinegar slightly and increase the sugar to taste.

 

Chicken club salad with creamy balsamic vinaigrette

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Working from home has its perks and its challenges.

One of the perks is making yourself lunch every day.

One of the challenges is making yourself lunch every day.

For me, answering “What’s for lunch?” usually starts with a peek in the fridge to see what protein options I have on hand. With the weather warming up, I feel like a salad pretty much every day, but it’s got to have some protein.

On this particular day, I had a bit of roasted chicken, but just a small portion; not enough to make even one serving of orange-cranberry chicken salad.

So what else was in there for protein? Some fully-cooked bacon. I’m okay with using bacon as a flavor accent, but it’s not really healthy enough to be the main protein in a meal, IMHO. Hard boiled egg would round things out nicely. Now we’ve got a chicken club salad!

So I grabbed a few eggs and boiled them. It just takes a few minutes, and ever since I got this handy little egg timer, my hard boiled eggs come out perfect every time. The product description says it best:

 Simply add the egg timer in with your eggs and boil… There’s an easy-to-read scale within the timer. During the course of boiling, the timer changes colors, from red to purple, starting from the outside edge and moving to the center. When the color change reaches your desired spot on the scale, the eggs are cooked accordingly.”

So although I just wanted one egg for my salad, I make a couple extra for deviled eggs, tomorrow’s lunch, or who knows what. While the eggs were boiling, I fried up some of the bacon. Since it’s fully cooked, that’s not really necessary, but I like it crispy.

I chopped up some romaine, and sliced a little red onion very thin. Then, to whip up the dressing.

This is based on a super-simple dressing recipe I learned from a friend…

Dressing option 1:

1-2-3 Dressing

1 part sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
2 parts balsamic vinegar
3 parts olive oil

You just combine those in a jar and shake them up. Easy-peasy, right?

But there are two things I don’t like about that. First of all, it’s got sugar. And although you can sub another sweetener, I’ve found that sweetener-based dressings don’t cling to the greens like the sugar-based version does.

Also, it tends to separate easily. So here’s my solution:

Dressing option 2:

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 packets Splenda or 4 t. natural sweetener of your choice; I like maple syrup.
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. mayo
2 T. olive oil

Put the sweetener and the vinegar in a small jar. Swirl it around until the sweetener is mostly dissolved.

Then add in the mayo and shake it up well, until no more white flecks can be seen on the inside of the jar. Then add the olive oil and shake again.

This makes enough for the generous dressing of one good-sized salad, or two smaller ones.

The addition of the mayo helps both with making the dressing cling to the salad, and keeping it from separating.

So, by this time, your eggs should be done. Rinse them with cold water for a minute or so, then shake the pan so the eggs smack against each other, to crack the shells. Then remove the shells, and slice up as many as you want for your salad.

Assembly time: romaine, chicken, egg slices, bacon, sliced onion. I wasn’t in a cheese mood on this particular day, but you could certainly add feta, bleu, Swiss, or shredded cheddar to this. Then drizzle dressing over the top and toss lightly.

Chicken club salad, with bacon and hard-boiled eggs

There you have it: a fresh, healthy, delicious salad, in less time than it would take you to drive to a bistro and read the menu!

I call that a perk.

You might also like:
30-second Caesar salad
Ginger-peanut salad dressing
Make-ahead Tex-Mex salad

Sugar-free poppy seed dressing

Ginger-peanut dressing

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Ginger-peanut dressing on Asian chicken salad

Here’s a simple ginger-peanut dressing that rivals any restaurant Asian salad! My favorite salad combo to serve it with — and the one shown above — is, for each serving:

– one heart-of-romaine head, chopped (I save the bottom 4″ to use as dippers with hummus, etc.)
– one regular or two small green onions, sliced thin
– one or two handfuls of slaw mix with carrots
– chopped bell pepper to taste
– chopped nuts of your choice and to taste: peanuts, cashews or almonds
– chopped cilantro to your taste
– optional: 1/2 to 1 whole cooked chicken breast

Just toss all this together and serve immediately, or cover and chill till you’re ready to serve.

Just before serving, drizzle on the dressing. This recipe makes enough for about four servings.

Recipe: Ginger-peanut salad dressing

1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tblsp. minced fresh ginger root
2 Tblsp. sugar-free peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
1 – 2 Tblsp. honey
1 small garlic clove
1/2 teasp. sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients except for canola in a blender and process till smooth. With the blender running, drizzle in the canola oil.

Best if chilled for a couple hours before serving.

Orange-cranberry chicken salad

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I came up with this recipe one day when I was craving curry chicken salad for lunch, but couldn’t find any recipes that didn’t call for chutney. How could I do a quick fake for chutney? I tried onions sauteed till soft, then combined them with orange marmalade. Pretty good!

An alternate and easier approach is to just use green onions, and skip the sauteing step. I’ve tried both, and it’s good both ways.

You can use the nuts of your choice. I prefer the contrast of salty cashews, but since they just disappear in the salad, I decided to use pecans for the photos. Again, both are tasty, and you can use your choice. Sliced or slivered almonds would work nicely, too.

To keep the carbs down, I use a sugar-free marmalade and make sure my mayo has a minimum of sugar and no corn syrup. (Homemade is so easy, and needs no sugar! Here’s my mayo recipe.)

 

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Recipe: Orange-cranberry chicken salad

2 c. cooked, cubed, cold chicken
1/3 c. yellow onion, diced fine (or 5-6 green onions, sliced thin)
1/3 c. mayonnaise (more if your chicken is dry)
2.5 T. sugar-free orange marmalade
1/2 t. hot curry powder
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
dried cranberries & nuts to taste (note: substitute dried currants to avoid added sugar)
hearts of romaine or whole grain crackers, optional

If using yellow onion, saute till translucent. If using green onion, reserve a bit of the green tops for garnish, if you like.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the onion (using the white parts of the green onion), mayo, marmalade and spices; stir till well combined. Add an extra tablespoon or two of mayo if your chicken is on the dry side. Stir in the chicken, and green onions, if using. Add dried cranberries to suit your taste. Don’t add the nuts until just before serving.

You may eat it right away, but the flavor improves if chilled it for an hour at least. It’s also a great dish to make a day ahead.

Just before serving, stir in the nuts. Garnish with green onion and extra cranberries, if desired. Serve with hearts of romaine or whole-grain crackers.

NOTE: To make this Paleo, replace the orange marmalade with 1 clementine or tangerine, cut into bite-size pieces. Use homemade mayo. If you like, replace the dried cranberries (which usually contain sugar) with dried currants or raisins.

Serves 2.

You might also like:
30-second Caesar salad

Slightly spicy slaw: for pork or fish tacos

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Slightly spicy slaw

I made these Chipotle Pork Tacos for dinner last night. I love that I can prep everything ahead, throw the pork in the marinade, and chill it while I go do other stuff. Then when it’s time to actually cook dinner, all I have to do is cook up the onions and pork — which just takes a few minutes — warm up the tortillas, and we’re good to go!

I wanted to get some vegetables on the plate, though, and I thought slaw sounded like a nice go-with. I surfed the net looking for a southwestern-y slaw recipe, but didn’t find anything that just fit the bill. So I improvised this, and it was a hit! Because I used half mayo, half sour cream, the mayo flavor doesn’t overwhelm. The spicy-sweet flavor and crispy-creamy texture of this slaw is the perfect complement to the tacos, in my opinion. I think it would also be great on fish tacos, with barbecue, or straight-up on its own. (Which is how I had it for lunch today.)

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce comes in a little can, but it still takes me forever to use one up. (Spice wimp.) So after I’ve opened a can and used what I need for that recipe, I put the rest in a labeled glass jar and keep it in the fridge.

If you’ve never used chipotles in adobo sauce, here’s what you need to know: the sauce is fairly mild; the flesh of the peppers is quite a bit hotter, and the seeds are ridiculously hot. (To me, anyway. Consider the source.) So adjust what parts you use and the amount you use to your own tolerance for spiciness. Of course, it’s best to start mild, taste it, then add more if you so desire.

A little tip about slicing green onions: I’ve found that slicing them on the diagonal not only looks fancier, it also keeps the little buggers from rolling off the cutting board.

Slightly Spicy Slaw

1/4 cup mayo
1 teasp. chipotle chiles and/or adobo sauce (more if you like things spicy)
1 green onion
2 t. red wine vinegar or lime juice
1 pkt. Splenda or 2 teasp. sugar or 1.5 teasp. honey
1/8 teasp. salt – or just a few shakes
3 cup slaw-cut cabbage

Dice the chipotle pepper small, and remove any seeds. Slice the green onion thinly, discarding the roots and any wilty parts of the green.

Put everything except for the cabbage in a medium bowl, and stir till well blended. Then add the slaw and stir till all is well combined. Chill for 1-2 hours.

Use to top pork or fish tacos. A topping of cilantro highly recommended.

Serves 4.

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Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad
Make your own taco seasoning
Pulled Pork Pasta with Ancho Cream Sauce