Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Big, Bountiful Salads That Satisfy
(ARA) - The days when salads were strictly a side dish to something more important -- they’re so over. A big, bountiful salad deserves to be the center of attention.
Whether you’re on a special diet or just looking to eat in an interesting, healthful way, there’s no reason to settle for boring combos. A well-made salad should deliver a lively interplay of flavors and textures. What’s more, the salad needs to be substantial enough that you don’t get hungry an hour later. On both scores, ingredients such as avocados, nuts and hard-cooked eggs qualify as great salad builders. Each contributes a distinctive flavor and texture, while satisfying hunger pangs for hours.
Take “Avocado Beef Salad with Asian Dressing,” for instance. Thick avocado slices take the lead in a main-course salad that also features grilled beef strips -- all presented on a bed of greens and dressed with a brightly flavored Asian dressing.
This inspired combination not only delights the eye and appetite, but equals a well-balanced meal. The beef provides protein, of course, but many people don’t realize that avocados supply nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. In addition, these rich-tasting fruits contain "good fats" -- the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated kinds that are considered good substitutes for foods high in saturated fat. Also worth noting: Avocados can help the body absorb higher levels of fat-soluble nutrients, such as beta-carotene, that might be found in other salad ingredients.
You may think that a salad with exotic flair, like this one, is hard to shop for. Not true! The beef, greens and dressing ingredients are easy to find -- and Hass avocados are always in season because they grow year-round in Mexico’s rich volcanic soil, with just the right mix of rain and warm sun.
Buy avocados from Mexico ripe for immediate use, or firm for salad making later in the week. Firm avocados will ripen to perfection when held at room temperature for one to three days. When soft to the touch, they’re ready for the big salad toss.
Avocado Beef Salad with Asian Dressing
8 ounce flank or round steak, grilled
3 cups mixed salad greens
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
3/4 cup snow peas
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup bottled or homemade Asian salad dressing (recipe below), divided
1 fully ripened avocado from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
Slice steak thinly across the grain; set aside. In large bowl, combine salad greens, red pepper, scallions, snow peas, cilantro and 1/2 cup salad dressing; toss gently. Place on four serving dishes, dividing equally. Top with sliced steak and avocado, drizzle with remaining dressing. Garnish with cilantro or parsley leaves, if desired.
Asian Salad Dressing: In measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger), 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil until well combined. Makes about 2/3 cup. Serves 4.
For more information and great recipes, visit http://www.theamazingavocado.com/.
Courtesy of ARAcontent