With its festive fall flavors, this salad would make the perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving spread — especially if you’re looking for hearty vegetable-based dishes to serve to your guests. Spelt berries become plump and tender after simmering, giving the salad an interesting texture and an earthy whole-grain flavor that pairs well with bright, tart pomegranate, bitter greens and sweet roasted carrots. Perhaps the greatest thing about a salad like this is that it’s versatile and can be adapted to complement the rest of your meal. If you already have carrots on your menu, the roasted carrots can easily be replaced with other fall vegetables like squash or fennel. Or use rosemary or thyme in place of sage and add some toasted walnuts or pecans if you’re looking for something a bit richer. Robust salads like this one also stand up well long after being dressed, making them perfect for holiday buffets and leisurely meals.
Before you hit the salad bar, see how some popular ingredients compare.
Italian Dressing vs. Balsamic Vinaigrette
WINNER: Balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic vinaigrette can contain a third fewer calories and grams of fat than Italian dressing. Bottled versions of both are often made with additives and preservatives, so mix your own: Combine three parts olive oil with one part balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper.
Spinach vs. Spring Mix
WINNER: Spinach. It’s a close call — both are super low in calories and packed with nutrients. Spinach contains slightly more phytonutrients, antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, calcium and iron. Spring mix usually contains spinach, but it’s bulked up with lighter lettuces like frisee that don’t offer much in terms of nutrition.
Cheddar vs. Feta
WINNER: Feta. Cheddar has 32 percent more protein and 49 percent less sodium than feta. But feta has fewer calories and grams of fat (total and saturated) than cheddar and because it’s so creamy and flavorful, a little goes a long way.
Grilled Chicken Breast vs. Diced Turkey
WINNER: Grilled chicken breast. Sodium is the big issue here: Diced turkey is more likely to be processed and loaded with sodium — up to 16 times the amount in store-bought or restaurant-cooked chicken breasts. Also, chicken breast is white meat, while diced turkey can contain a mix of light and fattier dark meat.
Croutons vs. Tortilla Strips
WINNER: Croutons. Croutons are usually much lower in fat because they’re sauteed or baked rather than deep-fried like tortilla strips. The exception? If you see croutons labeled “cheesy” (as opposed to plain), beware: The added cheese makes them almost as fatty as tortilla strips.
Food Network Magazine’s expert Jaclyn London is a registered dietitian in New York City.
Winter officially began yesterday, and while there may be a smaller bounty of produce during the cold-weather months, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo delicious, healthy salads. Here’s how to make the most of seasonal winter goodies.
The crunchy texture of sliced red cabbage, paired with the sweet flavor of roasted carrots and lots of chopped parsley, makes a pretty great salad. But when these ingredients are tossed with a flavorful creamy dressing, this simple salad is taken to another level.
It’s easy to make salad dressings that are full of flavor, not calories. Here are some tricks for homemade versions.
1. Add citrus juice, citrus zest and fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, oregano, or thyme) for a burst of flavor and color.
2. Replace all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil in a recipe with reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
3. Use a blender: The ingredients come together faster and easier. (Try Food Network Magazine’s Grilled Chicken Salad with Gazpacho Dressing, above.)
4. For variety, use cider vinegar, sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar.
5. Add chopped shallots for nuance that’s more subtle than garlic or onion.
6. Bind ingredients together with 1 to 2 tablespoons honey mustard, Dijon mustard or grainy mustard.
7. Use reduced-fat sour cream for creamier dressings, as in this blue-cheese version from Food Network Magazine.
As the temperature heats up, salads become a quick and easy way to keep you cool and hydrated – most fruits and veggies are more than 90% water by weight. Many different fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer, so flavor is at its peak as well (find what’s best in your region here). Unfortunately, three of the most popular summer picnic salads are calorie-bomb side dishes: macaroni salad, potato salad and coleslaw. Here are a few tips (and recipes) to ensure your seasonal salads leave you feeling light, yet satisfied for hours:
1. Make it a Meal
When some people hear the word salad, they think “I’ll be starving in an hour.” But there are many ways to beef up a salad to make it filling for the heartiest of appetites. Add a source of protein like meat, eggs or beans. Use some heartier vegetables like corn, beets and carrots. Add a healthy fat like avocado or a handful of nuts. Then just add in a ton of your favorite veggies – different colors represent different nutrients, so go for a rainbow.
Many foods that are good for you actually taste perfect together. Seemingly unusual pairings can make your mouth soar with delight. In fact, I bet that some of your most memorable meals contained a combination of contrasting flavors and textures – the ingredients balanced each other out while promoting the overall flavor of the dish: salty with sweet, chewy with crunchy – you get the point. Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite pairings and I’ve added some very unique twists. In the first dish, sweet strawberries are coupled with tangy balsamic vinegar, crunchy and mildly sweet macadamia nuts and salty goat cheese, all arranged on a colorful blend of fresh greens (this makes an awesome brown bag lunch or first course for a dinner party). In the second dish, I combined the sweetness of raisins with crunchy toasted almonds, smoked oysters, salty feta cheese and refreshing sherry vinegar. I nestled the combo over a bed of fresh baby spinach. All in all, amazing. And wait until you try the third recipe: salty prosciutto, sweet melon, fresh mozzarella and crunchy celery. I hope you try these and then tell me YOUR favorite pairings!
Strawberries with Balsamic, Macadamia Nuts and Goat Cheese
Strawberries are crammed with vitamin C, nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats and goat cheese is a good source of calcium.
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 teaspoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon good-quality olive oil
2 cups mixed baby greens or baby Romaine lettuce leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons toasted macadamia nuts or hazelnuts
4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
Combine strawberries, vinegar and oil and toss to coat strawberries. Arrange lettuce on a salad plate. Top with strawberries. Season with salt and pepper. Top with nuts and goat cheese.
The word “healthy” can get tricky. Lots of foods get labeled good-for-you or may seem low-cal, but they’re anything but. Here are 9 of the biggest offenders.
If you think bringing lunch is boring, think again. Sure, it may take a little extra effort each morning (or the night before), but in the end, you can save money. If you want your lunch box to be the talk of the office, try these easy ideas.