I’m currently obsessed with adding more vegetables to our meals. It’s partly because I’m 40 and I know I really need to take better care of myself and my family. But it’s also because I’m heavier and flabbier than I’d like, and I want to fix that. I try to exercise, but our Great Diet of 2012 (more on this in a future post) taught us that what we eat plays a big role in healthy weight loss.
My problem is that I don’t like garden salads. I think I got sick of them when we were dieting ion 2012. I know a lot of people get used to eating leafy greens instead of rice, and there are many ways to make salads flavorful while keeping the calorie count low. So what I do now is I get ingredients I like, and find recipes for what I have in the kitchen (exhibit A: creamy chicken and broccoli pasta).
A week ago, I got zucchini and spinach with the groceries, and I found a lovely recipe. As usual, I improvised.
- Zucchini: I love zucchini, and happily they are cheaper during the summer months.
- Spinach: Somebody once said spinach doesn’t actually have much flavor (and I concur), which makes it great for pasta and salads.
- Tomatoes: Chopped, crescents or coins, whichever works for you. The recipe called for cherry tomatoes, which are delicious but expensive.
- Peanuts: The recipe called for pine nuts. See note on cherry tomatoes, above.
Ingredients for the salad dressing
- Lemon: Just one, cut in half and squeezed
- Onion: Chopped, in whatever way works for you.
- Balsamic vinegar: I don’t normally care much for measurements, but the vinegar can be overwhelming, so I just used 1 tablespoon.
- Olive oil: I don’t normally care much for measurements, but too much olive oil would be wasteful, so I just used 1/4 cup.
- Dried oregano: The recipe called for fresh oregano leaves, which I did not have, so I just mixed dried leaves into the dressing.
Jeez, it’s a salad. How hard can it be?
- Chop the zucchini. I prefer coins but you can do sticks if you like.
- Brown the zucchini in olive oil. Set aside.
- In a bowl, gently combine spinach and tomatoes. Arrange zucchini slices on top, then fold to combine.
- To make the dressing, pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. I just used a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad.
- Sprinkle with peanuts.
It was so good, Oneal went back for seconds. (Gasp!) Enjoy!