|Fabulous Salads like this Antipasto Chopped Salad can help you stick to a healthful eating plan!|
My favorite Antipasto Chopped Salad is on the menu today for our Month of Daily Phase One recipes; doesn't that look good? This favorite salad of mine is like the kind you might order in an Italian restaurant, loaded with tasty ingredients like olives, hearts of palm, turkey pepperoni, marinated mushrooms, peperoncini, slices of mozzarella and capers. Some people might look at all that's going on in this salad and decide to skip it because it will take too long to chop up all those antipasto ingredients. But truthfully, interesting salads like this can be easy to pull together once you master a few tricks for satisfying salads.
If you'd like more salads like this in your life, I have three pieces of advice:
1) Always keep lettuce that's chopped or torn, washed, and ready to eat in the fridge. My friend Paula at Salad in a Jar, seals her prepped lettuce in jars with a FoodSaver machine. I do that sometimes, but when I'm eating salad often I just keep it in a plastic container with a snap-tight lid. Whenever I'm prepping lettuce I do enough for at least 3-4 salads so that I'll always have prepared lettuce in the fridge.
2) Whether you make your own dressing or buy already prepared dressing, for a satisfying salad it's important to have a dressing that's really flavorful. For people following the South Beach Diet, tasty dressings with canola or olive oil and less than 3 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons are abundant if you don't want to make your own. For my antipasto salads, I buy my favorite garlicky dressing from The Cinegrill, a long-time Salt Lake City restaurant that's so old they don't even have a website. (If you're going to buy a favorite restaurant dressing, check the ingredients; some are loaded with sugar.)
3) Finally, my main tip for making satisfying salads like this appear in your life more often is to prep generous amounts of all the "special" ingredients each time you're doing it, so that it's easy to just pull the prepared ingredients out of the fridge and throw together a salad. All the things I use in this favorite salad will last in the fridge for more than a week, and I can easily eat this salad several times in a week without being tired of it.
Now here's more about how I make my favorite salad. Even if you only use a few of these things, this salad would be pretty tasty, and there are other things you could also use if I've missed some of your own favorite salad additions.
I love hearts of palm in my salad. (They can be quite pricey, but Costco sells them in big jars that are pretty reasonable.
These marinated mushrooms are also a bit of a splurge, but it only takes a small handful of them to really bump up the flavor in the salad.
peperoncini in the fridge, and a small handful of these also adds a lot of flavor.
Here's a photo that shows you how much of each ingredient I prep at once. These little containers are about 5 inches across, and they stack up nicely in the fridge.
Lettuce is a personal choice, but I mostly use romaine lettuce, chopped or torn and washed in a salad spinner.
And one final ingredient I would never skip in a salad like this is capers, those briny little morsels that add so much flavor. (And that well-used measuring spoon isn't too suitable for photos, oops.)
Then toss in all the other ingredients of your choice and toss again. I like a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper on this!
(I chop up a generous amount of all ingredients and store in the fridge so I can make the salad several times during the week.)
chopped romaine lettuce, washed and spun dry in a salad spinner
black olives, drained and cut in half
turkey pepperoni, cut in halves or quarters
hearts of palm, cut into slices
marinated mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters
peperoncini, stem cut off, drained, seeds removed, and cut into slices
string cheese, cut into small rounds
capers, 2-3 tsp. per salad
your favorite garlicky Italian dressing (I buy a sugar-free garlicky dressing from one of my favorite restaurants for this.)
Chop several heads of romaine lettuce, then wash and spin dry in a salad spinner (or wash by hand and dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Cut up the olives, pepperoni, hearts of palm, mushrooms, peperoncini, and string cheese as described above. (For the peperoncini, I cut the stem off with kitchen shears and put them in a colander to drain before I remove the seeds and cut them into strips, otherwise it's a rather juicy job!)
To make each salad, put desired amount of lettuce into a bowl that's big enough to toss ingredients. Add salad dressing and toss until the lettuce is well-coated with dressing. Add other ingredients as desired and toss again. (Please don't skip the capers, which I think are one of the best things about this salad.) Season salad with a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper and serve on individual serving plates.
Other Antipasto Ingredients You Could Use:
~roasted red peppers from a jar
~thinly sliced smoked ham or turkey
South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making salad like this for the South Beach Diet, choose a dressing made with canola or olive oil with less than 3 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons. It's also important to use lower-fat turkey pepperoni and string cheese. All the other ingredients here are good low-glycemic choices, so enjoy!
More Satisfying Phase One Green Salads from Kalyn:
American Greek Salad
Warm Scallop Caesar Salad
Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
Ottolenghi's Perfect Lettuce Salad with Radicchio, Radishes, Tomatoes, and Capers
Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing