By Amanda Wilks
Are salad prep times getting you down? There’s no shame in that. Sometimes you just want something light to eat that doesn’t take an hour of preparation only to wind up being devoured in all of five minutes. There’s not much to be suggested when it comes to making a leafy meal last longer on your plate, but there’s plenty to be done to cut down on cooking and meal prep time when it comes to getting it to your plate in the first place.
If the thought of a quick lunch conjures up images of slathering iceberg lettuce with store-bought dressing and hoping for the best, you can put those worries to rest right out of the gate. You might be surprised by what you can do with a few ingredients combined in nonstandard ways. In fact, one of the most interesting salads out of the three uses mushrooms as a main ingredient!
Spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your life with these three healthy salads that won’t keep you washing and sorting lettuce leaves for half of your afternoon.
1.Warm Mushroom Salad
Starting off with something nontraditional but dangerously tasty is a warm mushroom salad that shies away from the traditional image of a greens-heavy plate. It’s a simple one-pan dish, too. After toasting your pine nuts and sweating your onions for a minute or so, add your mushrooms and continue to cook for a few more minutes on medium-high heat. Follow up with soy sauce, spices and greens of your choosing left in just long enough to wilt the leaves and you’re good to go!
Though the health benefits of leafy greens can’t be overstated enough, mushrooms offer impressive health benefits of their own including cancer fighting power and protein packed nutrition that fits well with any dietary plan including Weight Watchers new Freestyle program. On the downside, keeping mushrooms fresh for longer than a few days curbs some of their potential usefulness. If you’ve suffered through trying to keep your mushrooms fresh for longer periods of time, click here for helpful tips.
2.Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
If you’re looking for a more traditional approach to a light yet satisfying lunch or dinner, try punching up your salad with a homemade vinaigrette and a light fruit flavor touch to bring a new twist to an old classic.
This pear and blue cheese salad is both delicious and easy to make. Combine your lettuce of choice with the pear slices and set them aside to assemble your vinaigrette. This is most easily accomplished in a vessel with a tightly-fitting lid, as you’ll want to combine the vinaigrette ingredients and shake vigorously to ensure proper emulsification of the components to bring them together properly.
You can even keep the vinaigrette in its shaker if you need to make it ahead of time and simply re-shake it before serving. It beats out store bought dressing almost every time!
Couscous makes a great soup base, but it’s also a fantastic foundation upon which to build salads. The best part about preparing your couscous is that you simply soak it in a flavorful liquid instead of taking the time to bring something to a boil. In this case, low-salt vegetable stock punches up the flavor potential of this pasta cousin without oversaturating an otherwise healthy meal with an abundance of salts.
While the couscous soaks, chop up your vegetables and prepare to mix them in as soon as the soaking is done. Make sure you don’t leave the couscous to soak too long else it may become gummy. Fluff it with a fork and add your vegetables then follow up with feta, pesto, pine nuts and whatever additional additives tickle your taste buds. It’s hard to go wrong with a little extra greenery or any cooked mushrooms you may have left over.
Building a salad from a leafy green base or a couscous foundation alike can lead to a tasty, healthy lunch or dinner option that doesn’t require hours upon hours of prep time.
Your diet will remain steadfast and you won’t have to whittle your afternoon away in the kitchen unless you really want to and there’s nothing better than knowing the food you just ate was as good for your body as it was for your schedule.
More Quick & Easy Salad Recipes for Weight Watchers
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