I was a die-hard sandwich fan for a long time. It was my go-to lunch every day, and I thought I’d never waver. Big surprise, my tastes have changed. What sandwiches were to me in my twenties and thirties is what a salad is now that I’m in my forties. I crave them like crazy, and can’t go more than a day without a salad in my belly. Weird, huh?
Don’t get me wrong, I still love sandwiches, as does the rest of the family. They fill kids’ lunch boxes, tournament coolers, and road-tripping backpacks. They are wholesome and filling and a great way to pack in the nutrition when you are on the move. But, I don’t crave them like I do a fantastic salad. I just Gotta Have It!
I’m not talking about a wimpy little bowl of anemic-looking lettuce and a few tomatoes. I’m talking big and chunky, full of flavor and crunch. This recipe packs a whole lot of nutrition into one bowl, giving you about two servings of vegetables, a serving of fruit, plenty of fiber, and good dose of all-important protein as well. Add some whole grain bread, pita, or crackers and you’ve got yourself a wonderfully healthy and satisfying meal. If your afternoons are anything like mine, coordinating the lives for three active kids, your body will thank you for fueling it up in such a delicious way.
Gotta Have It Salad
2 c. leafy greens (baby spinach, spring mix, romaine…)
1/2 med. red pepper, chopped
1/3 sm. cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 sm. apple, chopped (I use McIntosh or Granny Smith)
1-2 T. dried cranberries
1 T. chopped walnuts (or peanuts or almonds or sesame seeds or…)
2 -3 oz. leftover chicken (or pork tenderloin or steak or grilled fish or…)
1-2 T. light balsamic vinaigrette
Throw it all in a big bowl, add the dressing, and enjoy. The beautiful thing about this is you can totally make it your own, as they say on American Idol. I have been known to add green beans, celery, carrots, grape tomatoes, or broccoli. What’s in your fridge? Give it a try, and let me know if you discover your own winning combination!