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Seasonal Salad Recipe (Winter)

A hearty and delicious seasonal salad recipe for winter

For the last six months or so I’ve been working on getting into better shape and losing the bulk/weight that’s been lingering around my torso area. Over the past five+ years, I’d slowly gained weight to the point where I topped the scale at my highest weight ever (full disclosure: 179 pounds). Not only was I not happy with the way I looked, I was unhappy about how I felt. I decided it was finally time to take serious action.

As I started ramping up my exercise, which I’d been slowing working on for about a year prior, I was under the impression that my diet (as in what I eat) was just fine. In my head I’d been eating well and not consuming lots of extra calories. The reality was that I was eating a diet based heavily on carbs and starches with not nearly enough meat or vegetables. I guess I was eating a moderate number of calories overall but most of those calories were really just sugar and junk.

This all changed for me last July when I decided that I was going to start limiting myself to one processed carbohydrate per day. Now this could mean lots of things, and I’m not trying to get all scientific because really, I don’t have the credentials for that. For me, it meant only one serving of bread, pasta, rice, dessert, or whatever per day. Basically, it’s processed food in carb form. I decided to focus mainly on eating protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. The goal wasn’t to permanently cut anything out of my diet (again, what I eat), but to cut back seriously on the processed garbage I’d come to know and love (oh hi donuts!).

I’ve also been using a food diary to help keep me in check. This has helped wonders, too. It gave me an honest and unvarnished look at what I actually was consuming, not just what I remembered eating. Once I got honest with myself about my diet and seriously committed to cleaner eating, I’ve now lost just over 20 pounds (and still going) and several inches off of my body in various areas (bust, waist, hips). This has resulted in me not only looking better overall but feeling so much better, too. I’ve also been limiting my alcohol consumption as well. I limit myself to an average of one drink per day (not to exceed seven drinks per week). That’s still quite a lot of booze, especially for the average person. For me, it works out well. And no, the booze doesn’t count as a carb for the day. That’s tracked separately for me.

Today I’m bringing you one of the recipes that’s helped me to achieve this new level of weight loss and fitness. Something I do to make this whole low carb eating thing a lot easier is that I eat a huge salad as my breakfast/lunch meal for the day. I usually eat a more normal dinner, unless I want a snack then I eat a meat/veggie/healthy fat dinner. I’ve cut out an early morning breakfast and now eat this salad meal around 10:00am daily. The salad is so large and filling that I feel satisfied for at least six hours afterward. My body is filled with smart fuel so it has lots to work with. [Please note that I am not recommending everyone skip breakfast. This works for me in my situation. Find something that works for you and your situation if the idea of not having breakfast is one that you just can’t make a reality.]

This salad is my winter version of a seasonal salad. At three other points this year, I’ll share the other three seasonal salads that I’ll develop in the coming months. Seeing as I’m a creature of habit and I really love this salad, I make pretty much this same one every day, five days per week. If that’s not your thing, that’s fine, but using a similar combination of ingredients can help fill you and keep you satisfied all day long. I fill this salad with ingredients that I love so it’s really easy for me to eat this five days per week.

A hearty and delicious seasonal salad recipe for winter

Let’s take a look at what’s in this salad. I’ve broken things out by category to make it easier to understand my methodology:

  • Vegetables – I start with a base of hearty leafy greens. My typical choices are spinach, arugula, or baby kale. I like using a green that I could cook if I needed to because these greens are higher in vitamins and minerals and lower in water content than regular lettuce is. They’re also more filling. Other vegetables that are usually part of this salad are chopped colored bell pepper (meaning red, orange, or yellow), thinly sliced green onions, and broiled eggplant slices. Remember, this is my winter seasonal salad so fresh seasonal veggies are pretty limited this time of year. My summer salad will be brimming with variety.
  • Protein – While I used to use roasted chicken and other more hearty meats, now I’m at the point where I use a combination of spicy salami, sunflower seeds, boiled eggs, and cheese as my protein sources for my winter salad. I like the variety and the flavor combination of these items. Plus, this is much easier than baking and deboning chicken every week. I’m all about ease!
  • Whole Grains – To add to the bulk of this salad and make it more filling, I use a half cup of chilled whole grain on my salad daily. Typically I use bulgur, freekeh, sorghum, or quinoa. Feel free to use any whole grain that has a pleasant texture and mouth feel when served cold. There’s a lot to choose from. I also actually measure this out and limit myself to the half cup because a half cup is the serving size for most grains. Also, since I use a whole grain on my salad, this doesn’t count toward my one carb per day policy. It acts as fuel and provides fiber for me. Plus it really helps bulk up my salad.
  • Healthy fats – Fat is essential to brain function. If anything, most people should be eating more fat in their diet. That’s healthy fat, by the way. Not trans-fats or sugary items with fat or even deep fried everything. I get fat on my salad mainly from oil in my dressing (usually a non-GMO safflower oil), olives, and the previously mentioned salami, boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, and cheese. Fat helps the stomach to feel fuller and better satisfied, just as the whole grains and fiber from my plant based items do.
  • Flavor enhancers – Even with all these ingredients, my salads typically need a little boost. I love to chop up mild pickled jalapeños and toss those on the salad. I also always make my own dressings so that I know exactly what’s going into them. The previously mentioned cheese, olives, and salami do wonders for salad flavor as well. Also, since I don’t have a problem with high blood pressure or hypertension, I use liberal amounts of salt and seasoning blends like Slap Ya Mama. I am healthy so I can do things like that (thankfully!).

This salad covers all of my nutritional needs and fills me so very well. I’ve played around with this salad for a couple of months now and I’ve finally gotten it to where it is now. This is the main reason why I’m brining it to you today. I’m finally ready to share this with the world. I hope you enjoy it!

A hearty and delicious seasonal salad recipe for winter

Yield: 1 meal-sized salad OR 2 side salads

Seasonal Salad Recipe for Winter

This seasonal salad recipe is perfect for winter. It's packed with leafy greens, broiled eggplant, olives, salami, cheese, and much more.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups  hearty leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, arugula), cut into thin strips (if desired)
  • 1/2 cup cooked whole grain, cooled (e.g. bulgur, sorghum, freekeh, quinoa)
  • 1/4 of a large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 5-7 mixed pitted kalamata and green olives, chopped
  • 5-7 small rounds of spicy salami, julienned
  • 5-7 pickled jalapeño slices, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup cheese (my favorites: shredded cheddar, shredded Monterey Jack, or feta crumbles)
  • 3-5 rounds of broiled eggplant, cut into strips
  • 2 boiled eggs, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette

Method:

  1. If you've not done so already, cook the grain, broil the eggplant, boil the eggs, and make your dressing. Preparation of these items is not included in the time listed for the recipe.
  2. Once you have all the ingredients listed prepped, chopped, and ready to go, lay the leafy greens down on a plate.
  3. Next, scatter the half cup of whole grain atop the leafy greens.
  4. Sprinkle the salad with bell pepper, green onion, olives, salami, pickled jalapeños, and sunflower seeds.
  5. Add the shredded cheese and broiled eggplant strips.
  6. Line the edges of the salad with the two quartered eggs then top the whole salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing.

Serve and enjoy!

Prep:25 min

Total:25 min

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