Well, once again the Lizzard has slithered into the kitchen and just in time for Lent. I am not sure about the rest of you, but it seems like I've eaten my way through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. It was all so much fun, but now it's time to reflect upon my caloric ways and consider a bit more healthy diet. One of the ways I like to do a nutritional reset is with salads. And I not talking lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing.
Personally, I plan all of my salads around my dressing. I can't remember the last time I bought a pre-made salad dressing -- corn syrup, preservatives, ingredients I can't pronounce -- yeah, none of that is for me. To make a really good salad dressing all you need is one to two tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of a piece of citrus fruit of your choice (lemon, lime, orange), fresh ground pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. In a cup pour in the olive oil and add the juice. Whisk really well with a fork -- it will start to thicken up. Add in the spices to taste. If you really want to jazz it up add in fresh dill or mint or thinly sliced scallions or freshly chopped garlic. Add Parmesan cheese for a twist on Caesar dressing. Mashed and whisked in bleu cheese crumbles equals the same great flavor as its creamy cousin with some reduction in calories. I like to make mine fresh, but you can plus up amounts of the ingredients and store in the refrigerator. Keep in mind olive oil solidifies in the cooler temperatures, so you have to bring to room temp before you use.
What's underneath your dressing is also super important. Be adventurous. The produce selection at the local grocery is brimming with colorful fruits and veggies -- some even pre-chopped which makes assembling a salad rather easy. I try to see how many different colors I can fit into my salad bowl. I also like to add a protein either in the form of grilled chicken or seafood. Most recently I've discovered lentils which is a ideal plant based protein.
Lentil & Pomegranate Salad
1/2 cup cooked lentils, cooled
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 purple onion, diced
1 small red apple, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow mini-peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 orange
Salt & Pepper to taste
Prepare your dressing by whisking olive and orange juice. Put all the ingredients into a bowl, toss with dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.
And remember if you don't put lettuce in your salad, then you don't have to worry about choking on a lettuce leaf and missing out on dessert.
[Liz “The Lizzard” Hewson is standing in for Kathi Lewis in today’s edition.]