Monday, July 09, 2012

Recipe for Kalyn's Power Salad Mix (and the quest to eat more vegetables)

Power Salad Mix
This Power Salad Mix is something I eat regularly for a meatless meal!

For a few months I've been having regular talks with myself about maintaining my weight.  You might remember that when 2012 started, I confessed I had gained some weight, and I'm happy to report that I lost about 12 pounds in the new year when we did that Month of Phase One Recipes.  But for the last few months my weight has been doing that up/down thing again, and lately I'm being honest with myself and admitting that at least half the time I weight about ten pounds more than I really want to.  In addition to losing those ten pounds and keeping them off, I'm also working on a goal of more meatless meals, and I've decided that eating more vegetables, including a big nutrient-rich salad every day, will be a strategy that could be the key to both those goals. 

I've always washed lettuce in advance and kept it in the fridge, but I think it was Kelly's Do It Yourself Organic Salad Mix at Mountain Mama Cooks that started me experimenting with a nutritious ready-to-eat salad mix that would entice me to eat salad more often.   It took a few tries to find a mix that would appeal to me, be extra nutrient dense, and stay good in the fridge for more than a day or two, and after some experimenting this blend that I'm calling Kalyn's Power Salad Mix is starting to become a staple in my fridge.  If I'm having lunch at home I eat a big bowl of this, usually with a something like a handful of nuts, some cubes of cheese, or extra veggies added.  On days I go out for lunch I have this salad for dinner.  I like this blend with all types of dressing (see suggestions after the recipe) but currently I am partial to another recipe from Mountain Mama Cooks for Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette (aka The Best Dressing Ever).

In some ways this may not be a Meatless Monday recipe, because I am trying to eat a big salad with this nutritious mix nearly every day of the week, but there's no doubt that having my salad mix in the fridge is helping me to eat a lot more meatless meals!  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

You're probably not surprised that Kalyn's Power Salad Mix starts with kale, since I'm so crazy about it and kale is so nutritious.  You could use Earthbound Farm Ready-to-use Organic Mixed Baby Kales, but I have kale in my garden this time of year so I start by giving it a good wash in the salad spinner.

If you're using bigger kale leaves you may need to cut away the ribs, but for my garden kale I just snip off the stems, lay the leaves on top of each other in a stack, and cut them into ribbons.

Then I usually cut through the kale once or twice going the other way so I have short strips of kale.

Next is romaine hearts, which I break into pieces into the salad spinner and then crisp in very cold water and spin dry.  The greens need to be quite dry or they won't last as long in the fridge.

The third ingredient that makes up my salad mix is red cabbage.  This adds a nice crunch factor to the salad, and cabbage is loaded with nutrients.  I cut the cabbage in half, cut away the core from one of the halves, and then thinly slice the cabbage.  (If the pieces are long, I chop them in half the other way like I did with the kale.)

I use a large metal bowl to get the salad ingredients well mixed.

This amount of salad will fit in a gallon size plastic zip-seal bag if you pack it in.

To make sure it stays good in the fridge, seal the bag part-way, press on it to remove all the air, and then finish sealing.  

And just to show how well this will keep, here's a batch of salad that's been in the fridge for several days.

Put a couple of handfuls of salad into a bowl, toss with a flavorful dressing, add anything else you'd like such as nuts, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, fruit, canned beans, or croutons, and lunch is served!


Kalyn's Power Salad Mix
(Makes 3-4 large salads; inspired by Kelly's Do It Yourself Organic Salad Mix at Mountain Mama Cooks.)

Ingredients:
4-5 oz. kale or baby kale mix (about 4 cups chopped kale)
2-3 heads romaine lettuce (about 4 cups torn lettuce)
1/2 small head red cabbage (about 2 cups thinly sliced and chopped red cabbage)

Instructions:
If using kale leaves, cut off the stems and cut away the inner ribs if they're large.  Wash kale in the salad spinner and spin dry or dry with paper towels.  Stack up the kale leaves and cut them into ribbons about 3/8 inch thick.  Then slice through the leaves once or twice going the other way so you have short strips of kale.  (Baby kale mix can be used just as it is from the package.)  Put kale into large metal bowl big enough to hold all the salad ingredients.

Break off and discard the outer damages leaves on each romaine head, making sure you remove any leaves that have rust spots.  Cut off the root end of each head, then break the romaine heads into bite sized pieces into the salad spinner.  Wash romaine in very cold water and spin until it's as dry as you can get it.  Add romaine to the kale in the salad bowl.

Cut a small head of red cabbage in half, wrapping one half and putting it back in the fridge for another time.  Cut away the core and remove the damaged outer leaves of the other half; then slice the cabbage into very thin strips.  When all the cabbage is sliced, give it a few chops going the other way so you have short, thin strips of cabbage.  Add the red cabbage to the kale and romaine in the bowl.

Toss the salad together so it's well-combined.  Then open a gallon size plastic bag that will zip tightly shut, and use your hands to tightly pack the salad into the bag.  Zip the end partly closed, then press on the bag to remove the air and finish zipping it shut.  The salad will stay good in the fridge for 3-5 days, depending on how dry the lettuce is and how much air you manage to squeeze out.

To assemble a salad, toss several handfuls of the salad mix with enough dressing to coat.  Add other ingredients like nuts, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, fruit, canned beans, or croutons as desired.

Printer Friendly Recipe

Salad Dressings and other Ideas for Kalyn's Power Salad Mix:
Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette (aka The Best Dressing Ever) from Mountain Mama Cooks
(This is my current favorite with walnuts and extra parmesan or Feta!)
Green Goddess Salad Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
(With cucumbers, tomatoes, and Feta)
Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
(With chopped avocado and black beans)
Low-Fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing from Skinnytaste
(With chopped avocado and low-fat grated cheese)
Our Everyday Salad Dressing from The Nourishing Gourmet
(With carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes.)

South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making this salad for the South Beach Diet, choose salad dressings with not more than 2 or 3 grams of fat per serving.  Many bottled dressings will fit this requirement, so read the labels until you find one you like if you don't want to make your own dressing.  With that caution, this low-glycemic salad mix is a great choice for any phase of the diet. 

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
counter customizable free hit

29 comments:

Joanne said...

I sometimes think maintaining is even harder than weight loss because it's more difficult to stay motivated when you're not working towards a set endpoint. Having a goal of eating a salad a day could be a fun challenge to keep me on track also! I love the kale base in this salad. And how versatile it is!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

The colors in this salad mix are so appealing, and of course anything with kale really floats my boat these days. It's such a good idea to prep several meals' worth of greens at one time. I know that I'm much more likely to eat something healthy when it's ready to go, and sitting right on the refrigerator shelf.

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Joanne and Lydia. Having this mix in the fridge is really helping me with my goal of more salad!

Stephanie said...

This sounds like a great idea. And good luck with your goal on maintaining your weight and eating more veggies!

Mimi Holtz said...

Thank you for this motivating Monday post! Your power salad is so appealing....

Jeanette said...

Love this power salad mix you put together Kalyn - I've just been reading up on power foods and kale and cabbage are right up there.

everydaymaven said...

This is such a great idea Kalyn. I need to do this as well!

Kalyn Denny said...

I'm so happy that other people are liking this idea.

Tonya Ricucci said...

I wish I could get baby kale here, but none of the shops carry it. Have you heard about salad in a jar? I've read about it in several places, but haven't tried it yet. You get a vacuum-sealer and wide-mouthed mason jars. Then create a bunch of salad mix, put into separate bottles and vacuum the air out. supposedly it keeps really well in the fridge for days and days. it's easy to google...

Kalyn Denny said...

Tonya, I have tried Salad in a Jar, but I eat my salad so quickly it seems like more trouble than it's worth. Plus I don't think it works so well on salad mix with things besides lettuce.

DreamTree said...

This salad blend looks amazing & so healthy! I do the "salad in a jar" thing now & it works fabulously...takes just a few seconds to pack each salad into the jar & suck out the air. I've been trying to eat in my office more (rather than going out & spending money & probably eating less healthy food than I should)...so a nice big salad is just the ticket. Definitely going to try your blend in my jars next. Thank you! :)

mountain mama cooks said...

Oh Kalyn, you rock! I'm so glad you were inspired by the DIY salad mix. When I have it in the fridge, I eat way more veggie......it's just so easy! The kale and cabbage not only add color and texture but all the more nutrients! I'm also glad you're enjoying the dressing. We go through a jar a week at our house! Thank you SO much for spreading the blog love and linking back. I think the world of you and am so glad to have you in my life! xx

JMC said...

Perfection! We are getting ready to jump back on the South Beach diet (lifestyle)... I think this will help me a ton!! I have three little ones under foot and this will help make lunch time a lot easier for me and will hopefully encourage them to try some new things!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Great tips on prepping salad - I have struggled with that this summer and have lost some valuable leaves in the process. Congrats on your power salad regimen!

Kalyn Denny said...

DreamTree, would love to hear how this keeps in a jar!

Kelley, my pleasure! Thanks for the great idea.

JMC, hope you enjoy!

TW, this is a great way to keep your greens and lettuce used up!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

I would eat this salad every day! Good luck with your weight and veggie eating goals!

Jeanie said...

I've been needing a good way to mix the kale from my garden. Thanks.

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Shirley; I think eating this often is going to make a difference.

Jeanne, hope you enjoy it.

susiet said...

Wow this salad mix looks amazing! Can't wait to try it! I generally just wash a whole bunch of different lettuces and lay them out on paper towels, roll loosely, then store in an open plastic bag. But it still requires work for each salad. I love the idea of creating a partial vacuum.

Great job and thanks Kalyn!

sara said...

I thought about the salad in a jar thing too! Except I don't have the vacuum pack machine. But squeezing a baggie is very do-able! I've never eaten kale - but I love this idea - and I need more nutrients (getting older...;D)

Thanks for another great idea!

Jessica said...

Yum, this looks so good. I love anything that uses cabbage! I bet it would be really yummy with feta cheese.

Does regular curly Kale taste good raw in salads, or is it too tough? I've only cooked with it, never had it raw, but baby kale is harder to come by at the grocery store.

Kalyn Denny said...

Susiet, so glad you like it.

Sara, if you eat it regularly, it does stay good plenty long enough in the plastic bag with the air squeezed out!

Jessica, I think the smaller leaves of the curly kale are good, and it helps to cut it into smallish strips, but there's no doubt that the darker green kale is a little stronger flavored. I love Red Russian Kale in the salad if you can find that.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

This does look great... I am always trying to eat more salads.
Especially in the summer!

NoRecipes said...

I'm in the same boat as you with the weight yoyoing +-10 pounds. Love the idea of making a mix of greens and storing as the store bought ones are so expensive (and often of questionable freshness).

Kalyn Denny said...

Sandi, glad you like it.

Marc, I agree that the purchased mixes are often not that great (and I hate buying the plastic containers too.) Here's to getting rid of the extra ten pounds for good!

Suann said...

I found a hint on line I now use for my salad. After cleaning & getting ready, I put a towel or paper towel in the vegetable keeper and place the lettuce, veggies on it. These stay quite nice for about a week for me & I get them used up. This way they are always ready when I am. You have kept me on track and I am within 10 pounds of my goal weight, having lost 50 in the last 4 years!

Kalyn Denny said...

SuAnn, that's great! Way to go.

SixtyIsForty said...

Perfect for the summer, Kalyn. I don't feel like cooking so much during this 100degree heat in SLC. I make the salad the feature of our meal and Jim grills one piece of fish or meat on the barbecue to share.

Kalyn Denny said...

Just brilliant, Kalyn. You always come up with good ideas and perfect combinations of my favorite foods. thanks!

Doren

(Sorry I accidentally deleted the original comment!)

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