Quinoa Salad with Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate Seeds

A Tale of Two Salads!

The first salad is a winner! It has complex levels of flavours from the fresh bite of mint and cilantro to the small explosions of pomegranate sweetness. And each mouthful is a study in textual contrasts among soft, chewy, and crunch. Nothing about this salad is expected or traditional. Plus it’s pretty too. Yum, I love it!

The second salad is a loser! It has too many tastes and textures plus really annoying pomegranate seeds. This story belongs to the spouse who grew up in an upright English Canadian family where dinner was a roast, potatoes, and peas. Not surprisingly, he prefers food that comes without surprises.

two eaters…two salads…the same serving bowl

Sometimes, I contemplate two kitchens, but honestly, the spouse does put up with a lot of culinary experimentation and manages to remain good-humoured—well, most of the time.

Besides, wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?

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Dieter’s Potato and Broccoli Slaw Salad

This delicious, crunchy, and easy-to-make potato salad happened because of two things.

One: I was seduced into buying a large bag of small potatoes (no peeling, hurray!) at Costco—the place where you always buy more than you actually need. So…lots of potatoes in the fridge.

Two: I had a lightbulb moment that involved broccoli slaw. To date, potato salad has been out of my caloric reach, and I hadn’t been able to think of a vegetable to add that would be easy to prepare in a large quantity. Broccoli slaw to the rescue!

This salad is wide open to imaginative variation in quantity and type—from vegetables to spices. The basic issue is to have, at the very least, as much vegetable as potato. In this version, I had 4 cups of cooked potatoes and, after adding my vegetables, I ended up with 8 cups total.

Okay? Here’s how it goes…

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Broccoli Slaw Salad with Chicken, Apple, and Pickle

Looking for a quick, easy-to-make, low-cal lunch?  When we were in Tucson (where we vacationed for a month), I discovered that Safeway carried broccoli slaw which we also have in Canada and which I’ve been using as the basis for a lunch salad.  This salad is as healthy as all get out, covers all the food groups except grains, and has a great, crunchy texture.

I’ll add a photo when I’m a little more settled.  (The photo is now added.  In this version, I didn’t have any chicken or turkey so I threw in a hard-boiled egg instead.  It’s okay, but I prefer the meats.) When we got home from Arizona three days ago, I discovered that my computer wasn’t working and that my hard drive was fried.    I’m sure you can envision the ensuing rigamarole.   In the meantime, get out the broccoli slaw… Continue reading

Plum and Red Cabbage Slaw

The plum season cometh to an end; the cabbage season arriveth.  What better time to marry the two foods together in a delicious, tart, and crunchy coleslaw? 

In keeping with the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that when I tried this recipe first, I decided to make it a cooked, rather than raw, dish.  I really liked it, but then I’ll eat just about any vegetable dish.  The spouse was not amused.  So I decided to try it this way.  I still really like, but now the spouse informs me than he’s not really that enamoured of red cabbage.

Interesting how you forget things about the other person when you’re in a really long relationship, isn’t it?  I think I had this bit of knowledge at the back of my mind—the place where I keep unwanted information. 

No problem, I’m going to eat the whole thing.

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Avocado-Tomato Salsa

Avocados have been on sale.  If you’re like me and love avocados, three things then happen.  You can’t resist a sale; you buy more avocados than you should; they all ripen at the same time.  That’s avocado problem number one.

Avocado problem number two has to do with losing weight.  Avocados are incredibly nutritious (check it out at California Avocado Commission), but they are also extremely high in calories for a vegetable.  In fact, the Weight Watcher program, which allows its adherents to eat 99.9% of vegetables for free, has singled out the avocado for its high level of fats.  Good fats, of course, but fats nonetheless. 

An avocado is 8 points on the Points plan and 12 points on the PointsPlus plan.  That is, respectively, the same as eating 8 or 12 apples!

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Cucumber Blueberry Mint Salad

This salad is “an end-of-summer delight”—a combination of savoury cucumber (now in season) and sweet blueberries (still on the shelves) whose flavours only work together when they are textured with the fresh tang of mint. 

I know this because I made it without mint earlier in the summer, and the spouse who had never seen the original recipe said, “This would benefit from some mint, don’t you think?”

Anyway, I say “end of summer” because the temperature reached 30° C (86° F) today, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like the second week of September.  We used to get a first frost in early September but those days seem to be long past.

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Quinoa Tabouli for Dieters

Tabouli is a wonderful dish.  It’s delicious and healthy for you, textured with crunch and snap, and has a lovely smell, dominated by fresh parsley, green onions, and lemon.

Still, from a weight watcher’s perspective, tabouli has problems.  It can be heavy in carbohydrates if the ratio between quinoa and vegetables leans towards the quinoa.  And many recipes call for more oil than a dieter would want.

How, I wondered, could I make this more of a diet dish while still retaining the tabouli goodness?  My solution was to cut the oil dramatically and add new crunchy vegetables, snow peas and green beans, to the classic ingredients of tomato, cucumber, parsley, and green onions.  I’m now thinking that I could have also added baby bok choy; I’ll try that next time and let you know.

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