Dress Up Your Salads in 2018

1 Comment

The New Year signals a fresh start and with this new beginning comes soon-to-be broken resolutions for many of us. I’ll admit, my New Year’s resolution track record isn’t the strongest, but this year I’m taking on my resolutions in baby steps vs. going cold turkey to hopefully avoid becoming overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

One of our resolutions is to eat out less and meal prep every week to help keep us on track. Like many who are trying to be healthier in 2018, salads have found a prominent spot on our weekly meal plan and we’ve been quick to stock our fridge with fresh fruit and veggies. I’m a huge salad fan, healthy kick or not, but my husband? Not so much.

The key to turning around his salad aversion and helping us work towards a healthier 2018? Dressing up our salads with homemade dressings (so punny, right?) Homemade dressings have so much more flavor than their store-bought counterparts and you can control what’s going in the jar (i.e. no hidden calories). You can also throw in fresh herbs, which have a ton of health benefits, such as digestion aid and skin care.

Each week, I try to make a different homemade dressing recipe and switch up ingredients for the salad itself to help us avoid getting bored. This helps us refrain from reaching for an unhealthy alternative and actually enjoy eating healthy. I also use mason jars to prep our lunches on Sunday for the week, which are great vessels to transport our salads and dressing to work without leaking all over our bags (this has happened to me one too many times.) Plus, by prepping on Sunday, we can easily grab the jars and run out the door throughout the week.

Below are two different salad jar recipes, complete with delicious homemade dressings to help you keep on track in 2018.

Enjoy!

Fall Kale Salad Jar
Serves: 4 (I double this recipe to make 8 salad jars for the week)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Tools:
Sharp knife
Baking sheet
Mason jars

Ingredients:
For the salad:
1 1/2 lbs of cubed butternut squash
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 large bunches of Tuscan kale, stemmed and finely chopped
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup diced almonds
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked and chopped in bite-sized pieces
4 tbsp goat cheese

For the salad dressing (makes 3/4 cup):
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F.
2. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to evenly coat the squash
3. Make sure the squash is evenly spread on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until the squash is tender
4. While the squash is cooking, chop up all your ingredients and keep each ingredient in a separate pile
5. After stemming and chopping the kale, put the kale in a bowl and gently massage for a few minutes
6. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or place in a small mason jar and shake until the dressing is evenly combined
7. Once you pull the butternut squash out of the oven, let it cool for 20 minutes to avoid wilting any of the other ingredients
8. Put the jars together and add the ingredients in the following order: 2 tbsp of the dressing, 1/4-1/3 cup chicken, 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1/8-1/4 cup quinoa, 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds, 1 cup kale, 1 tbsp diced almonds, 1 tbsp of goat cheese
9. When you’re ready to eat the salad, shake the jar and serve on a plate or in a large bowl

Skinnytaste‘s Asian Chopped Salad Jar
Serves: 4 (I double this recipe to make 8 salad jars for the week)
Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Tools:
Sharp knife
Mason jars

Ingredients:
For the salad:
1 1/2 cup shelled edamame
1 medium red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced snow peas
1 cup shredded carrots
4 scallions, chopped
4 cups shredded purple cabbage
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked and chopped in bite-sized pieces

For the dressing:
2 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 1/2 tbsp canola, light olive or grapeseed oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds

1.Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or place in a small mason jar and shake until the dressing is evenly combined
2. Put the jars together and add the ingredients in the following order: 2 tbsp of dressing, 1/4 cup of chicken, divide the edamame, peppers, carrots, snow peas, scallions, cabbage and lettuce
3. When you’re ready to eat the salad, shake the jar and serve on a plate or in a large bowl

                                                    Using my company’s finest china, of course

1 Comments

Leave a Comment