Now that we are a week into the New Year, it’s probably the time that your resolution to eat healthier is beginning to weaken. Right after New Year’s, a lot of us were sick of the surfeit of rich foods and were reaching for the Alka Seltzer. So, it was easy to stick to your guns and stay away from the sweets and starches.
But it’s been a whole week and the self is saying, “Self, that little …fill in the blank…” looks so good. What harm will a bite here and a bite there do? Before you know it, that little bite has morphed into several big bites and you are kissing your resolutions bye-buy.
But before you bid healthier eating adieu, try some of these delicious – but healthy and frugal salads. You will find that sticking to the plan isn’t so difficult after all.
They are easy to make and all of the ingredients are in season and can be found in the various farmer’s markets around the city!
Our Bay Area weather has been so warm that it doesn’t seem like winter but it does get cold at night so these warm salads are just the ticket.
Roasted Vegetable Salad: Take a variety of vegetables, wash, peel or do whatever is appropriate to prepare them for eating. Cut into bite sized pieces, and toss them with olive oil, salt (I use Kosher salt) and pepper).
Roast in a hot oven, 400F, for ten to twenty minutes, turning them a couple of times. I try to use what’s in season now: cauliflower, turnips, carrots, onions, squash, peppers.
As the vegetables are roasting, prepare the dressing:
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar or a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar.
1 teaspon of Dijon mustard
1 t. honey (or Agave which is sweet but processed by the body more slowly so doesn’t cause the blood sugar to spike)
1/2 Cup of olive oil (or to be more frugal, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 c olive oil. Another frugal tip is to make the dressing with a good quality vegetable oil and then, sprinkle the vegetables with a bit of olive oil at the end for taste.)
1 T chopped red onions
Whisk or put in a blender to blend. Pour on the hot vegetables and serve.
In the latest issue of Shape Magazine, they quote a Dutch study that those who ate two servings of “white” vegetables (not potatoes!) daily were 52% less likely to have a stroke.
Vegetables like cauliflower keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Apples and pears were also part of the study; those who ate the equivalent of one medium to large apple had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke than those who ate less than 78 grams of white fruit a day.
Cauliflower, apples and pears also contain a number of nutrients and phytochemicals, including the flavonol quercetin, which may have anti-inflammatory properties.
To get your “cauliflower” fix, try this salad inspired by the flavors of Malta.
1 head cauliflower
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 bag frozen fava or lima beans – or – Edamame beans for that California-Asian touch and a bit more protein
1 zucchini (get the smallest, youngest zucchini that you can find. Larger zucchini can be tougher and requires longer cooking)
3-4 oz. feta cheese
1 oz of black or green olives (optional – but if you add the olives, skip salt when you season the salad)
1 recipe Maltese dressing
Break up cauliflower into flowerettes and place in steamer. Steam for about 7 minutes, or until just tender.
Cut the zucchini lengthwise, then thinly slice into semi-circles and steam for 4 minutes, or until just barely tender. Steam the peas and Lima beans as well; Lima beans might need a longer cooking time.
In a large bowl, add steamed cauliflower, peas, Lima beans and zucchini.
Add enough dressing to taste, top with feta and serve warm along side thick slices of crusty bread, which can be dipped into the dressing for an extra treat. Or skip the bread if you are on a low-carb regimen.
Fennel and Lemon Maltese Dressing (Adapted from Lemonsprig)
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1 cup olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large mortar and pestle, crush fennel and coriander seeds. Add garlic and pound to paste. Add chopped herbs and zest of 1 lemon and mash together. Juice both lemons and stir into olive oil. Add herbs and season to taste. I often cut back on the oil and increase the lemon/tart tastes by adding some vinegar. But as they say, your mileage may varry.
Store in a jar and let sit for about 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
For desert, eat an apple! Folk wisdom was right. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.