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