In college, it can be really difficult to get the nutrients you need on a daily basis. There are days when everything on your plate is of the same white, yellow, starchy color because nothing else is appealing or available to you. Personally, I will always have a plate of salad at dinner to complement the supplemental vitamins I take in the morning. Unfortunately at the dining hall, there are times I have to shove the lettuce down (or just toss it away) because the leaves are so soggy, which is probably the most repulsive thing I can imagine placing into my mouth. Salads are supposed to be crisp and vibrant, not sloppy!
In addition to being fresh, salads need variety. Whether with a work out regiment or meals, having diversity will help you stick to a healthy lifestyle. This is why I’ll switch up the ingredients in my salads and change up the dressings. There is nothing I won’t give a try. There have been times I’ve used salsa as my dressing to make an innovative taste to get the green stuff down.
Whether you are making salads at home, making them in dining hall salad bars, or are not sure even what the difference between mixed greens and iceberg lettuce is, the salad recipe I’m about to introduce you to will wake up your taste buds to a whole new form of salads. The first time I tried fruit in my salad, my taste buds exploded. Initially I thought, fruits and vegetables are not meant to go together. But restaurants everywhere have mandarin orange or other fruity salads, which transform the vegetables into an instrument that produce sweet, sweet music in your mouth. Adding strawberries to a salad with a light vinaigrette makes me want to sing “Mmmmmm!” And while I’m a vegetarian, I know many people who think that chicken is a great protein you can cut up and add to these fruit salads.
- 2 cups of halved strawberries
- 6 cups of spinach, or any lettuce of your choice
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- optional: skinless, boneless chicken breast slices
- optional: 1/4 cup of toasted pecans (or slivers of toasted almond)
- Dressing of your choice (but if you’re feeling ambitious, I’ve included a delicious citrus dressing at the bottom)
- Wash the leaves of the lettuce if not pre-washed and if you have a salad spinner, use it to dry off leaves well
- Add your strawberries, salt and pepper. Also add your chicken and/or nuts if you chose to include them.
- Add your dressing according to taste.
Citrus Dressing (makes 3/4 cup):
In a blender or food processor combine 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/3 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional), 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring just to boiling. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warm until needed.