In the farmers market you should be seeing a great deal of lettuce, no not your iceberg you can find in the store, but really awesome flavorful lettuce. Some of the different types might be leaf, butterhead, arugula or even romaine and of course spinach. These types of lettuce are great for salads and sandwiches, you will probably never go back to the boring iceberg again. Once lettuce that you might not see is radicchio (it’s purple in color) but one you definitely need to pick up for making great salads. Colorful lettuce just seems to make a sandwich or salad pop with flavor and appearance. You actually will feel special…….ok, maybe not special but it will put a smile on your face!
I know that farmers usually wash the lettuce before they bring it to market but you will want to wash it again and then put it through a lettuce spinner to clean it and remove all the water. I am going to give you a bit of the “taste factor” with the different lettuces that I recommended for you to try in your salad or on your sandwich. Arugula – has a peppery taste (great for making aioli too), butterhead – has a bit of sweetness in taste, leaf – has just a hint of nuttiness, radicchio – is a bit bitter when eaten alone but blended is wonderful, romaine – really has no distinct flavor but is awesome on sandwiches and blended in salads and of course spinach – I like to use baby spinach which has just a little bit of bit to it.
Here is a recipe for a salad that you can make and it can be your entire meal because it has so much goodness to it. The best part is you can use any vegetable that suits you or that you have in your frig and any low/no fat dressing will pare nicely with it. Enjoy!!! For comments/questions email firstname.lastname@example.org
Veggie Nicoise Salad
1 pound small red potatoes halved
1 pound asparagus trimmed
1/2 pound fresh green beans cleaned and trimmed
1 can of kidney or garbanzo or black beans drained and rinsed
1 red onion halved and thinly sliced
Assortment of lettuce (romaine, arugula, baby spinach & leaf)
3 oz marinated artichoke hearts drained, placed on paper towel and quartered
I do not use eggs in mine but if you want to add 3 hard boiled eggs that have been quartered it will be a nice addition of protein (at 12 grams of fat if you ate them all)
In a sauce pan put enough water to cover potatoes, bring to a boil. Turn heat back to med and cook for 9 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp tender. Drain and spray with Pam Olive Oil to cover potatoes. Set aside.
In a steamer (or in a saucepan) cook the asparagus and beans until they are crisp tender. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside. Spray each with a bit of Pam Olive Oil spray.
On a large platter tear enough mixed greens for 4-5 people. Arrange the vegetables in sections onto the plate (ie, the potatoes in one area of the lettuce plate, the beans over on one side, the asparagus in a separate area, kidney beans, etc. This is a good time to let your children be creative as they help make this salad )
Once you are finished, serve! Some of my friends who make this salad will actually mix the salad greens with a dressing before they place the greens on the large platter and build the salad. I don’t like to do this for a couple of reasons, one being I think the lettuce gets soggy quickly and I like the crunch of everything and the other reason is not everyone likes the same dressing. Vinaigrette types of dressings really work best for this salad.
NOTE: You an easily over do your fat intake when you make this salad or any salad by using certain dressings. Believe it or not some dressing has over 10 grams of fat in just 1 tablespoon!