Thursday, September 10, 2009

Staple Salads

We have three staple salads in our household that make weekly appearances:

- Basic salad
- Iceberg wedge
- Nantucket blue spinach salad

The wonderful ladies who wrote the Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook gave me one of my best nuggets of cooking insight:

Using fresh greens, a fruit, a nut, a cheese, and vinaigrette dressing, you can never go wrong!

My Basic Salad has all of these components, plus a generous twist of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Some suggestions of items to throw into the mix:

  • Greens - red leaf lettuce is best. Buy fresh lettuce (not bagged), then tear, clean, and store any extra in a gallon-size ziplock baggie with a paper towel square included (to soak up any moisture). You will save about 50% on cost over bagged alternatives!
  • Fruits - dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricots, fresh orange sections, thinly-sliced apples, and berries work best
  • Nuts - spiced pecans, walnuts, and almonds (either toasted or untoasted)
  • Cheeses - blue cheese, gorgonzola cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese
  • Vinaigrette - I like Girard's light champagne vinaigrette (in the triangular container) or Wishbone light balsamic vinaigrette

For Italian food, I recommend an iceberg wedge. For mine, I use the following:

  • Fresh iceberg lettuce
  • Ken's Steakhouse light blue cheese dressing
  • Top the dressed wedge with: cherry tomatoes (halved), blue cheese crumbles, and finely-chopped red onions
  • Don't forget a generous twist of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper!

You can also check out my friend Shelley's homemade low-fat blue cheese dressing (here).

If you ever really don't have time to make dinner, but want a healthy and inexpensive meal on the table anyway, I would pair an iceberg wedge with a Palermo's Primo Thin Pizza. Costco sells the Margherita and Pepperoni versions for approximately $10 per three-pack. These thin-crust pizzas are cheap, tasty, and easy on the waistline: 1/3 of a margherita pizza has only 260 calories and 12 grams of fat. For ~$3 per pizza, you can't beat the price! With a wedge, it feels like a real homecooked meal (well, almost, I think.)

For chicken and some meat dishes, I recommend a Nantucket blue spinach salad. For mine, I use the following:

  • Baby spinach (bagged or bulk)
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Spiced pecans
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Girard's light champagne vinaigrette


  1. Awesome... can't be easier and more delicious. I hope you keep giving me great ideas to cook with.

  2. Hi! So glad that you like it...Corey sees these salads multiple times a week. :) Thanks for checking out my new blog too!