Monday, August 17, 2015

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Summer is the season for fresh strawberries. I often eat half a cup of strawberries (25 calories) with two tablespoons of Noosa Honey Yoghurt (46 calories) for a delicious post-workout snack, but the other day I decided to throw them on my salad for lunch. The result was a delicious, nutrient-packed combo. Strawberries are packed with nutrients. According to this article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

"Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium. Just 1 cup contains 160 percent of the recommended Daily Value of vitamin C, which is necessary for growth and body tissue repair, and for maintaining a healthy immune system. Fiber aids in digestive health and 1 cup of sliced strawberries provides 3.3 grams of fiber. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins, which give them their bright red color. These compounds may help prevent some chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes."

I recently discovered the Eat Smart Sweet Kale Salad Kit at my local market. It contains a blend of superfoods plus a packet of Poppyseed dressing, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. For this salad I only used the greens, which include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, and chicory. This nutrient-dense combination of vegetables provides 20% of your recommended daily vitamin A and 70% of your vitamin C. 

I prefer to mix the superfood greens with romaine so that it has the texture of a salad instead of a slaw. I added fresh strawberries for some vibrancy and candied pecans for crunch. The goat cheese adds a creamy, tangy note that also pairs well with strawberries and pecans. I added chia seeds for a little protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. I have made this salad a couple times and found that I like it with either Marzetti's Poppyseed dressing (70 calories/tbsp.) or Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette (25 calories/tbsp.). 


1.5 oz. Dole Italian blend salad
1 oz. Eat Smart sweet kale salad blend
1/2 cup strawberries
1 tbsp. goat cheese crumbles
1/2 tsp. chia seeds
5 candied pecans, chopped
1 tbsp. champagne vinaigrette or poppyseed dressing

The first thing I do with any salad is dress the greens. You won't need anywhere near as much dressing if you dress your salads this way. Only the greens need dressing. If you add the toppings before dressing the salad, then you will end up using a lot more dressing than you really need. Cut those extra calories by always dressing your greens first.

Combine the Italian blend, kale blend, and dressing in a bowl. Toss until the greens are evenly dressed. Then top with the strawberries, goat cheese, chia seeds, and candied pecans. 

Nutrition Facts

(w/Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette)

165 Calories, 8.9g Fat, 17.9g Carbohydrates, 7.2g Fiber, 9.1g Sugar, 5.3g Protein

This is a great salad to serve as a first course at dinner or serve with grilled chicken breast for a well-balanced lunch. Please share your favorite low-cal summer salad recipes ideas in the comments!

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