Cold Peanut Lime Zoodle Salad

I'm loathe to support food pretending to be other food (utter the words "cauliflower nachos" near me and I will lose it) but I have a soft spot for zoodles (or zucchini noodles) when they're used in cold salads. 

This salad is light and refreshing, and pairs nicely with tofu if you're staying veggie, or grilled flank steak marinated with lots of fresh ginger and garlic if you're a carnivore. 

Ingredients

Dressing

1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (smooth if you don't like texture, crunchy if you don't mind a little...crunch)
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons sesame oil (play with this until you find your preferred level of sesame. Always start small; you can always add more)
1 clove garlic, minced
sriracha to taste

Salad

2 medium-sized zucchinis, spiralized (I use this bad boy. It isn't anything fancy but it does the trick)
1 small head broccoli, chopped finely (I just chop the florets, in the same way I do my broccoli slaw)
1/2 cucumber, spiralized
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup frozen edamame, shelled

Directions

Whisk together dressing ingredients.

Mix together salad fixings and add half the dressing. Mix well and then continue to add more dressing until you reach your desired level of dressed. I like to keep a little dressing separate for dipping my crispy tofu in. 

Chill in the fridge until serving. This salad is best when it's cold.

Serves 4.

Optional: If you're feeling fancy, top with sliced green onions, chopped nuts, fresh chilies, cilantro, etc. Spiralized carrot would be killer in this salad but Shawn has an allergy so I'm deprived (whomp whomp). 
 

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Calcium-Rich Chopped Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

I'm attempting to boost my calcium levels by eating calcium-rich foods instead of popping more supplements but there's only so many bowls of ice cream one can eat before their partner starts to give them serious side-eye. (Whatever, Shawn. I'm doing it for the baby.)

This salad is packed with calcium-rich food sources that challenged my assumption that I need to eat copious amounts of dairy to get the calcium I need. Bonus points: I get to feel smug while I eat a giant bowl of kale (before I chase it with a giant bowl of ice cream. I'm only human.).

Ingredients

1 bunch curly green kale, stalks removed and leaves sliced finely* (approximately 4 cups chopped kale)
2 heads broccoli, florets and stalks, finely chopped** (approximately 4 cups)
1 - 540mL can white beans, drained and rinsed well***
1 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup chia seeds
orange vinaigrette

Directions

Mix ingredients together in large bowl. If serving right away, dress with orange vinaigrette. If keeping in the fridge, dress individual portions with vinaigrette so your vegetables don't go soggy. Undressed, this salad keeps well in the fridge for upwards of three days because the veg is pretty hearty.

Serves 8.

* I like to cut out the stalk and then roll the leaf up on itself to chiffonade the kale.

** I hold the stalk in one hand and slice down through the florets to almost shred them (like when I make broccoli slaw) and then peel the tough skin off the stalk and chop it finely.

*** I like to keep my beans separate from my greens so I don't activate the chia seeds and end up with jelly bits in my salad. I realize this is probably a "Hillary has texture issues" scenario though so I didn't make it a separate step.

Calcium-rich Chopped Salad

Orange Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is quick and easy (as long as you've got a powerful blender or food processer) and lasts well in the fridge. The oranges make the dressing light and refreshing, and the vitamin C they provide help your body absorb the non-heme iron found in leafy greens. It works beautifully on a kale salad is what I'm saying.

Ingredients

2 medium-sized navel oranges, peeled* and chopped small enough to fit into your blender or food processer
small bunch fresh parsley (approximately 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Buzz everything together in blender or food processer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Store in glass jar, tightly covered, for up to a week. Makes approximately 2 cups of salad dressing.

Orange Vinaigrette

Green Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Shawn and I stopped into Nine Fine Irishmen for a pint on our last night in Vegas and as I perused their menu for more fried goodness (their onion rings are to die for), the green salad called my name. I didn't have high hopes for an Irish pub green salad but my body's lack of vegetables was hard to ignore. The salad was amazing. So simple (lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. That's it.) and so tasty. The dressing was creamy balsamic which I'd never had before and I can't stop thinking about since. I tried to recreate it for dinner last night and I'm really happy with the results.

Creamy Balsamic Salad Dressing Ingredients

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
Small bunch fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

Buzz ingredients in blender or small food processer until smooth. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week. Makes about 1.5 cups of delicious salad dressing.

I made a simple green salad of red leaf lettuce, green onions, cucumber, and red grapes and it was delicious. I added some kidney beans and hardboiled eggs to the leftovers to take for lunch today. Pro tip: Don't add the dressing directly to your big bowl of salad if you're planning for leftovers because the lettuce will get soggy, add the dressing to each individual serving and eat right away. I've got a couple 125ml mason jars that are perfect for packing a tablespoon or two of salad dressing for work lunches so I never have to eat flaccid salad (which, let's be honest, is the worst kind of salad).

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