Summer of Salads!!! The first 3 recipes

In a quest to eat more vegetables at lunch while not getting tired of the daily prep that goes into eating a regular lettuce-based salad (I know it seems dramatic, but I really get tired of the salad prep!), I have been exploring slightly non-traditional salads that can meet the following:

  • can prepared on Sunday afternoon
  • last nearly the whole week
  • be eaten cold
  • contain vegetables, a grain, and some variety of bean

I read an article and then heard shortly after on the NPR TED Radio Hour, all about the studies of National Geographic writer/explorer Dan Buettner. He has spent a long time studying the lifestyles of people in what he has termed “Blue Zone” areas, where people live longer than anywhere else on Earth (it shouldn’t surprise us that our American way of life is costing us about 12 years on average from our life expectancy). Here is his Ted Talk if you want to listen and the full Ted Radio Hour show audio is here – but the Ted Talk by Dan was the best part. Super fascinating! Here is an article with an overview of the biggest takeaways that go beyond just diet.

The biggest food takeaways were:

  • 2 to 3 servings of meat per week (I don’t like to eat much anyways, so this isn’t a problem)
  • daily red wine (can I get an Amen?!)
  • coffee (another Amen!) and tea
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of beans a day as a cornerstone of one’s diet (as well as nuts)
  • dessert for special occasions only (but can’t EVERY day be special?!!)
  • plant-based diet (vegetables are about 80% of their food intake)
  • whole grains (love)
  • fish (meh)
  • water water water

The biggest lifestyle takeaways were:

  • large, thriving social networks – surrounded by healthy people who have positive long-term impacts on one’s behaviors
  • families come first
  • lots of walking – intentional physical activity based on destinations, stairs to get to/from home, gardening, chores, etc – activity centers around things that are enjoyable, an hour a day of usually gentle low-impact physical activity. No one exercises like we do!
  • focus on resiliency and thankfulness
  • faith
  • love

So here are the salads that I’ve enjoyed thus far!

Strawberry Broccoli Salad

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(makes 8 meal-sized servings)

INGREDIENTS

3 large heads of broccoli, chopped (about 6 cups)

2 pounds strawberries, sliced (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup feta crumbles

1/2 cup diced red onion (optional)

2 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup (or more, depending on your desired dressing coverage) of a creamy poppyseed slaw dressing (I found a great one in the refrigerate dressing section of Whole Foods)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix it all together in a giant bowl. Done. Eat. 🙂

Southwestern Barley Salad

IMG_1716

(makes 6 meal-sized servings)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups barley, uncooked

1 large avocado, pitted and diced

1 large red bell pepper

2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup sweet corn

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

4 stalks green onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

DRESSING

Juice of 2 large limes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/4 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 ground black pepper

Kosher salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare barley according to package directions. After draining, give the cooked barley a good rinse in cold water to remove the excess starch.

2. In a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients. Incorporate barley. Cover salad and refrigerate for an hour before serving. And enjoy!

Southwestern Broccoli Slaw

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(makes 4 meal-sized servings)

INGREDIENTS

2 bags of pre-package broccoli slaw

2 cans (or boxes if you like to avoid tin cans like I try to) of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 bag of frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed and drained of any excess water

1 large avocado, pitted and diced

3-4 tbsp of a southwestern style ranch dressing (I used the Bolthouse Chipotle Ranch)

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix it all together and enjoy!

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