Browsing Category: salads & dressings

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.

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30-second Caesar salad

Thirty-Second Quick Caesar Salad

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quick Caesar salad

This is the perfect lunch or snack for when you have no time, or when you need to make up for yesterday’s pig-out on carbs.

Take a heart-of-romaine leaf, spread it with your favorite sugar-free Caesar dressing (I like Caesar Caesar, by Litehouse; better yet, my homemade Caesar dressing, if I’ve got it on hand), layer on a few slices of smoked turkey, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. One or two makes a great snack, several make lunch.

Of course, you could substitute your favorite Ranch or other thick, sugar-free dressing, and your favorite deli meat, or chopped hard-boiled eggs if you want to go vegetarian.

How’s that for a quick Caesar salad?  🙂
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Orange-cranberry chicken salad
Chicken club salad with creamy balsamic vinaigrette
Ginger-peanut dressing

Amost-Panera’s Asian chicken salad

Almost-Panera's Asian Chicken Salad

I love the Asian Chicken Salad at Panera, so I experimented and came up with the recipe that comes pretty darn close. Just this week I discovered that you can get the actual Panera recipe online, but I actually like this version better.

And it’s so, so simple! Instead of finding a source for the won ton fries (or frying them myself), I just use Ramen noodles. So much easier, and probably lower fat, too. If that’s too many carbs for you, you could just leave them off and put on extra almonds.

Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad

4 hearts-of-romaine heads
2 handfuls cilantro leaves, chopped
4 cooked chicken breasts, sliced thin (grilled, roasted or poached)
4 green onions, chopped
1 pkg. ramen noodles
1/2 c. sliced or slivered almonds

optional: sesame seeds for garnish

Dressing:
3 packets of Splenda OR 2 T. sugar*
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Prepare the dressing 30 minutes ahead of time by combining the first three ingredients in a food processor or blender. With the blender running, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Set aside.

How to chop romaine: 
This is how I like to do it: Start by making one slice down the length of the head, starting about 5” from the stem, going all the way to the loose end. Rotate the head one quarter turn and make a second slice in the same manner. (I like to slice right down the center of the rib.) Then chop perpendicular to the first slices, starting at the loose end and working toward the stem end. Stop 4 or 5” from the stem, and save the uncut part for another use.

Slice the green onions. You may leave the cilantro leaves whole or chop them, whichever you prefer.

In a large bowl combine the lettuce, cilantro, and green onions. Let chill at least 10 minutes. (Longer is better; the lettuce absorbs someof the cilatro and green onion flavors.) Break up the ramen noodles into bite-sized pieces and set aside. At this point, you may hold everything till serving time, if you wish.

To serve, add the chicken, almonds and ramen noodles. Serve in salad bowls and offer the dressing in a pourable container so your guest can add as much dressing as they want. You can also pour the dressing over the top of the salad, toss, and serve immediately.

*You can use either Splenda or sugar with no compromise in taste, but using sugar makes it cling to the greens better.

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

Winter fruit salad with lemon poppyseed dressing

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This is one of my favorite salads, and it always gets rave reviews. I don’t make it as much now that we’re eating low carb, but you could certainly swap out your sweetener of choice for the sugar. And you could reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener needed by substituting orange juice for the lemon juice. The first time I made this recipe, I was almost out of lemon juice so I used half lemon, half OJ, and it was quite tasty.

Of course, you can swap out pecans or sliced almonds for the cashews, but I think the saltiness adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients. I also like to use smoked Swiss — or smoked Gouda, if I have it — for the plain Swiss. It’s a subtle addition, but I think it adds to the winteriness of the dish.

Make-ahead tip: Mix up the dressing, then chop the apples and pears and toss them with a little dressing. The citric acid in the dressing will keep the apples from turning brown. You can also prep the cheese, craisins and cashews and put them together in a container or baggie. Then when it’s time to serve, just dump the dressing, fruit and topping mixture over your greens and toss. If you dump dressing or anything with salt and sugar in it on the lettuce ahead of time, it will begin to wilt immediately, as these chemicals break down the cell walls of plants.