Healthy Salad Dressings

Salad dressings are the game changers when it comes to having an amazing salad or a mediocre one; but these dressings are often the biggest sources of hidden calories and sugars! The good news is that dressings can be very healthy and they are super easy to make at home. Below are my go – to recipes that I wanted to share with all of you.

 

Summer-Spinach-Salad-with-Lemon-Poppyseed-Dressing-iowagirleats-15

Simple Dressing

  • juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • optional: add 1 – 2 teaspoons of herb of choice
  • optional: a little honey to taste for sweetness

Mustard Lemon Vinaigrette

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 juice of lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • optional: 1 pinch of an italian or herb seasoning

Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of salt & pepper

Shredded Kale Salad

During a long weekend trip to Nashville this past fall with Justin, we stumbled upon a restaurant we loved and ended up going to twice while we were there. On their menu they had this amazing shredded kale salad that we couldn’t get enough of ( I know, I know, not typical vacation food – but trust me there were burgers and sweet potato fries consumed after this). I was determined to remember to replicate it when we got home (and after I purchased a food processor). Fast forward to January, after receiving a food processor from my parents for Christmas 🙂 , I finally got around to trying to replicate the recipe and to my delight it was a success and now I want to share it with all of you! This salad is super easy to make, very healthy, and really tastes great too. The shredded of the kale and added dressing really makes the bitter kale flavor you are used to.

Shredded Kale Salad

                                             

Ingredients:

1 bag of kale – take out the big stems
2 tbs of olive oil
¼ cup of toasted slivered almonds
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
lemon
optional: add ¼ cup of dried cranberries or sundried tomato pieces for a little sweet taste

Directions:

  1. Place half the bag of kale into the food processor with a tablespoon of olive oil and pulse until it is finely ground into small pieces.
  2. Add the rest of the kale and additional tablespoon of olive oil and finish the shredding process
  3. Remove all the shredded kale into a big bowl.
  4. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and a small additional drizzle of olive oil and toss.
  5. Add the slivered almonds, parmesan cheese and any additional toppings and mix well.

Serve and Enjoy 🙂

Farmers Market Appetizers

August is prime time to make a trip to your local farmers market to get fresh vegetables and fruit during a New England summer. My two favorite August finds are fresh sweet corn and big juicy heirloom tomatoes. Here are two quick different appetizers and/or side dishes using these ingredients to try out in your final weekends of summer.  Both recipes are quick & easy and I promise they will be fan favorites!

farmers mkt tomatoes

Roasted Pesto Tomatoes

Ingredients:
2-3 heirloom tomatoes
Pesto (1/2 cup) – I prefer a basil pesto
Shredded Parmesan cheese (or whichever cheese you prefer)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to broil setting.
2. Prepare a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with olive oil.
3. Slice your tomatoes into ½ inch thick slices and lay on the baking sheet.
4. Top each tomato with a teaspoon of pesto – spread evenly.
5. Sprinkle cheese of choice on top of each slice.
6. Broil in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown & crispy.
7. Serve alone or on top of greens and enjoy : )

farmers mkt corn

Roasted Corn Salad

Ingredients:
1 bag of arugula
1 sweet or red onion
2-3 pieces of corn
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Prepare baking sheet with tin foil and spray with olive oil.
2. Chop your onion into long slices and cut the corn of the cob. Add both of these to the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until onions are caramelized and corn is roasted golden brown.
4. Add arugula to large bowl. Once cool, add the onions and corn and top with parmesan cheese.
5. Toss salad with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice to taste and enjoy : )

Meatless Monday: Spotlight on Beans

Beans are one of the most underrated foods out there. These little things come in many variations are SO nutrient dense! Beans are something that everyone should try to start adding into their diet a few times a week. Here are just some of the nutritional benefits of beans:

  • Great source of Protein (7-10 g per ½ cup)
  • Saturated Fat, Trans Fat and Cholesterol Free form of protein; which reduces risk of heart disease compared to red meat that contains all three
  • Filled with antioxidants and minerals that help lower cancer risk
  • High Fiber content (about 12 g for 1 cup) which is great for aiding digestion
  • Good source of B complex Vitamins which improve liver health, skin, hair, eyes, intestinal wall strength, and muscle health. The B complex vitmains also aid in breaking down fat, carbs and protein.
  • Beans are very low on the glycemic index and are a complex carb which means they take longer to digest keeping you full longer. They are also great for blood sugar management

Here are two easy recipes using beans; either canned or fresh. If you buy canned look for ones that do not contain any added salt. If you buy dried beans make sure to soak them overnight before cooking; this allows the acids to release from the beans making them much easier to digest. These two recipes can stand alone or make great salad toppers! Both take under 20-30 minutes to make and can be made in large batches to meal prep for the whole week.

beans

Fiesta Bean Salad

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
1 orange pepper – cut into small pieces
1 yellow pepper – cut into small pieces
Cherry Tomatoes (1/2 container or 1 cup) – halved
¼- ½ of a red onion (taste preference) – cut into small pieces
½ cup cut cilantro
Dressing: whisk together olive oil & balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut all the ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.
Whisk together the dressing in a separate bowl
Drizzle dressing over beans and veggies and mix everything together
Optional: Add some chopped avocado for some extra flavor and fullness

Sweet Potato and Black Bean or Chickpea Patties

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled
1 cup black beans or chickpeas
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs red onion, chopped
1/4c cilantro, chopped
1 tbs lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Add all ingredients EXCEPT the black beans into a food processor or hand mix after mashing the sweet potatoes.
STIR in black beans
Refrigerate the mixture for 10-20 minutes
Form into small patties, and cook in nonstick pan with a little olive or coconut oil
4 minutes each side to warm them and crisp the outsides

NOTE: Another variation of this patty recipe is to add in quinoa. You can sub half the amount of beans for quinoa for a different variation of flavor and texture. This allows you to sneak in some whole grains to make this a complete meal!

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.