Thanks to everyone for trudging through a week with no recipes while I conducted my little experiment last week! It’s odd—after the week was over, I still found myself wanting to write down my meals and keep track of everything, so I suppose that’s a good thing!
It is important to want to be accountable, but when it comes down to it, the only person you have to be accountable to is yourself. If you decide you want to get healthy, the only person you should do it for is yourself. I won’t delve into it with this post, but I can say that in the past, I was in a long term relationship with someone who was obsessed with body image…but more MINE than his. Living like that was awful, and really comes down to a form of abuse, because I was constantly self-conscious and had a terrible perception of myself.
Now, with that unhappy memory well in the past, I eat healthy & stay healthy because it’s what I want to do. It’s about feeling good and having more energy for life. Not about trying to live up to someone else’s standards.
ANYway… *steps down from soapbox*
Today, we’re talking salad! This originated from a recipe in Bon Appetit, but I diverged and put my own spin on it, because this is my blog, and my stomach, doggonnit!!!
With the Independence holiday looming, perhaps you’ll be rushing off to BBQ’s and gatherings & ooh-ing and ahh-ing over fireworks. Maybe you’ll be hosting the grill-n-gather yourself! If you are, I highly recommend this as a quick & easy and unique side dish to accompany all those brats & burgers.
This could seriously not be easier, unless you just eliminated the grill altogether…but then it’s just a plain ol’ salad, and you won’t get any characteristic Fourth of July “oohs” and “aahs”.
Ingredients (makes 4 salads)
2 heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried & wilted/damaged outer leaves removed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & cracked black pepper
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 slices bacon, cooked/drained/blotted
4-8 tbsp Walden Farms Bacon Ranch dressing (1-2 tbsp of dressing per wedge, depending on your preference. The Walden Farms dressing is fat free/calorie free, so it’s really about your preference of lettuce-to-dressing ratio.)
Fire up your grill & set to medium-low heat.
Slice your romaine in half, length-wise, and turn flat side down on a cookie sheet. Lightly drizzle the halves with half of the olive oil, and then use a kitchen brush to spread across the outer side of the lettuce. (The original recipe called for more oil, but you can just use the brush to coat more lettuce with less oil.) Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan. Flip the halves over, and do the same to the flat sides, and then follow up by squeezing the juice of the 1/2 lemon across the leaves as well.
Carry your tray out to the grill, and place the wedges on the grill flat-side down for a few minutes. Don’t walk away. You’re just trying to get a wee bit of char. Check the flat side, and then flip. Because of the tendency to roll, you’ll have to grill in three “sections”—flat side first, and then the outer side once leaning to the left, and then to the right.
Once you get a nice char (but before things get too wilted), remove from grill & bring back into the house. Crumble up the bacon slices, and then sprinkle 1/2 piece of bacon over each wedge. Then, drizzle with the salad dressing. Serve warm.
I was really happy with this salad, though I was skeptical—I’d never had a “warm” salad before. But it has TONS of flavor. There’s the smoke of the grill, the acidity of the lemon, the richness of the parmesan…and of course, the bacony baconness of the bacon. The Bacon Ranch dressing has a bit of sweetness to it, so it rounds out the flavor palate really well.
And the awesome thing? One wedge is less than 75 calories. Hear that? A huge serving of creamy, cheesy, bacony goodness that covers half a plate…for 75 calories. Compare that to macaroni salad (280 calories per 1/2 cup), or potato salad (160 calories per 2/3 cup) or baked beans (140 calories per 1/2 cup), and you’ve got an awesome & flavorful BBQ side dish alternative.
NOTE: I probably wouldn’t recommend this for taking over to a friend’s house, since I’m not sure how the texture would hold up if it sits for too long. But you COULD take all the ingredients with you & just grill the lettuce there & assemble when it’s time to eat.
NutriFacts (per wedge)
Total Fat 6.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g
Cholesterol 2.7 mg
Sodium 227.6 mg
Potassium 274.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 2.6 g