Monday, June 2, 2014

Healthy Summer Salads Specials

Summer is all about eating a well balanced diet to stay hydrated and fresh. Salads are great summer specials that can be whipped up in matter of seconds provided you have all the essentials in your pantry. I rounded up four of my favorite salads from Pinterest for this summer , so here are my favorites that you can make for your family. 

I guarantee healthy and super quick from make to serve.

Healthy Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad

2 large romaine hearts, washed and chopped
1 cup pulled cooked chicken breast
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
3/4 cup sweet corn (I grilled mine)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/3 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
1 small avocado, diced
1/2 cup BBQ dressing, if desired

In a large bowl add lettuce, top with all ingredients except for avocado and BBQ dressing. Toss salad gently.
Place into cold salad bowls. Garnish with diced avocado and drizzle with BBQ dressing if desired. Serve with low-fat corn tortilla strips.

Tuscan Kale Salad with Oranges, Currants and Feta

1 large head of Tuscan kale, stems removed, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
2 large naval oranges peeled with sections removed from white membrane, or 3 blood oranges
2 medium sized purple or maroon carrots peels left one, washed, trimmed and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachio nuts roughly chopped
½ cup currants
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest from half a lemon
2 tablespoons shallot finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Place kale, orange segments, carrot slices, chopped pistachios and currants in a large bowl. Hold feta until the end.
In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, lemon zest, shallots, mustard, oil, salt and pepper and pour over salad and toss.
Top with feta cheese and serve.

Mixed Greens with Pears, Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans

1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens
2 ripe Bartlett pears
¾ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup very thinly sliced red onion
Our Favorite Vinaigrette (see recipe) or other salad dressing of your choice such as a balsamic vinaigrette
¾ cup Spiced Pecans (see recipe)
¾ cup crumbled goat cheese (blue cheese may also be substituted)

Place the mixed baby greens in a large bowl.
Peel the pears and cut into thin slices, removing the core and any seeds.
Add the pear slices, cranberries and sliced red onion to the bowl with the greens. Toss with enough Favorite Vinaigrette to lightly coat everything in the bowl.
Sprinkle the Spiced Pecans and the goat cheese over the top of the tossed salad.
Serve immediately.

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small head green or white cabbage (2 cups shredded)
1 large carrot (1½ cups shredded)
1 green papaya (1½ cups shredded)
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup green onions
½ cup chopped peanuts
2 cloves garlic
3 bird's eye chili peppers (sub ½ teaspoon minced hot pepper)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon fish sauce
¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup water

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes. When the chicken is done, remove from heat, drain water, let cool, and shred with two forks.
Chop the cabbage into very thin pieces, like it would be for coleslaw. I did this by rolling up several leaves together and making thin vertical slices across the roll and then chopping them once horizontally. Peel and grate the carrots. Cut off the skin, remove the seeds, and grate the papaya. Roughly chop the cilantro and green onions. Toss the chicken and vegetables in a large bowl and keep chilled.
Mince the garlic and chili peppers. Place garlic and peppers in a small mixing bowl with the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, oil, and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth. Add the peanut butter and water and whisk again until smooth and creamy.
Toss the salad with the dressing. Add the crushed peanuts. Serve chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to one day. For best results, keep the leftover salad and dressing separate until ready to serve.

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