May is National Salad Month
“Do You Overpour?” May is national salad month. I usually do not notice the various monthly celebrations (except for nutrition month). My attention was drawn to salads this month because of a brief report in the May issue of Cooking Light magazine entitled “Do You Overpour?”
The authors served 50 people tossed salads, and they monitored the amount of salad dressing they poured. Only a third poured two tablespoons of ranch or vinaigrette. Those who chose the creamy dressing had the heavier hand. The difference between the heaviest and lightest pours of ranch dressing was more than 250 calories. The largest pours were 5-1/4 tablespoons for both dressings. With that amount, the totals were 315 calories for the vinaigrette and 413 calories for the ranch dressing.
The suggested serving size for salad dressing is two tablespoons. Most people and especially restaurants serve at least double that amount or more per salad. The results in this brief report were not a surprise.
Salads with those beautiful greens and colorful vegetables are nutrition rich for us. Enjoy them, but use a tablespoon to measure the dressing as you pour. Ask for the dressing to be served on the side while dining in a restaurant. Then you are in charge of the amount of dressing added to your salad. Some of the vinaigrette dressing will be left in the salad bowl; however, ranch and other creamier dressings “stick like paint” to the greens. Depending on the heavy hand, the dressing can increase the calories to equal the calories from a four ounce lean steak!
For salad month, I have included a salad. You can mix this entire salad because the dressing makes only ½ cup. Since the salad serves eight, each serving would include less than two tablespoons of dressing.
In honor of salad month, do an experiment with you, your family and friends. How much do you pour?
7 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 package (9 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion with tops
Citrus-caper dressing (recipe below)
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine lettuce, artichoke hearts, orange segments, bell pepper, and green onion in a large bowl. Prepare Citrus Caper dressing. Toss dressing with lettuce mixture just before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Citrus Caper Dressing
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced capers
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Chop parsley and capers in food processor in order to chop finely. Combine all ingredients in jar or bottle with tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Shake well before serving. Makes ½ cup dressing.
Makes 8 cups
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 55
Carbohydrate: 10 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Saturated fat: 0
Trans fat: 0
Sodium: 117 milligrams