Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BLT chopped salad with Creamy Garlic Herb Dressing

This salad is everything I love in a salad only really, really good for you!  Typical salads can be loaded with hidden calories from cheese, croutons and fat-filled dressings.  In fact, I'm a total sucker for lots and lots of ranch dressing...I just can't get enough.

This salad is my solution to my ranch craving- it's made with a yogurt and herb based dressing, no cheese, and just enough bacon to make it taste super delicious without adding too much extra fat or calories.  In fact, if you use turkey bacon this salad is in line with any clean-eating lifestyle.  Plus, we added some chopped hardboiled egg on top for some extra protein.

I made it with my husband's 21 day fix in mind...although he hasn't started his 21 days yet, I am experimenting with recipes that will work for him and that really enjoys.  No one will stick to a healthy eating plan and decide to make it a lifestyle unless they really like what they are eating.  And yes - it is possible to do these things!  Healthy eating doesn't have to mean plain grilled chicken breasts with steamed veggies - it is so much more than that!!!

So get in the kitchen and get creative!  Or just let me do all that work for you and visit my blog often for more delicious and nutritious, healthy, recipes for you and your loved ones.  This dressing also tastes delicious with a little added blue cheese.  Add your favorite greens and veggies to make it your own!

Happy Cooking!

BLT Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Herb Dressing
my recipe was inspired by

For the salad:
5-6 cups of spring mix (we like the 50% baby spinach, 50% spring mix)
1 cup of grape tomatoes, cut in half (about 1/2 pint)
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, diced or sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup peas (I used frozen peas, only defrosted, not cooked)
3 scallions, sliced

1-2 hard boiled eggs per person 

6 slices of extra crispy nitrate free bacon, crumbled (use turkey bacon for an even healthier version.  I like to cook my bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until extra crispy.  I even use foil and parchment paper on the cookie sheet for an easy clean up.)

***This salad recipe serves 2 for a very generous lunch or dinner (depending on your daily caloric intake, you may need to divide this into 3 or 4...but what's better than having extra for the next day???).

For the dressing:
3/4 cup of Greek Yogurt (I used 2%)
1/4 cup of Mayonnaise (you could just use more Greek yogurt or some light sour cream)
1/4 cup of 2% milk 
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/3 cup parsley
1/4 cup chives
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
***this dressing is enough for two recipes of the salad...I used about 1/3 of it on the salad ingredients listed above.  It stores nicely in the fridge for up to a week and tastes even better the next day!

Place the vegetables in a large bowl after chopping and shredding to your delight.  (Feel free to purchase already shredded or chopped ingredients to save yourself time or if you think it will encourage you to eat more salads throughout the week).  Set aside while you make the dressing.

Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender (we have a Ninja) and blend until smooth.  Store in the fridge until you are ready to eat.  

Once it's chow time, add the lettuce, bacon, and dressing to the large bowl with your vegetables.  Toss until well combined and serve immediately.

I always mix my salads in a large bowl - it's the perfect way to ensure you won't over-dress your salad.  A little goes a long way!  Remember: you can always add more, but can never take the dressing off your salad once it's there.

You guys are gonna love this salad!  Make it your own - add your favorite toppings and change it up to whats fresh at the farm stand.  Enjoy!

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