Strawberry-Bacon Salad for a Cheating Vegetarian

salad with dressing

“I am a vegetarian. But I also love bacon. And the only thing more satisfying than being a vegetarian is being a cheating vegetarian!” Sonia Mena, 2011.

Strawberries and bacon are the perfect complement to each other, sweet and salty, juicy and crunchy. I throw in some raw pecans and sprinkle everything over a bowlful of salad greens. Then I toss them with a strawberry-balsamic dressing flavored with black pepper and rosemary. A cheating vegetarian couldn’t ask for more!

For healthiest results, use organic or non-pesticide strawberries and greens and nitrate-free bacon (I found some at Trader Joe’s)

This makes 2 dinner salads or one large salad for lunch.

strawberries, bacon and pecans

Ingredients:

Salad:
1 slice bacon
3 ripe strawberries
¼ cup (or one handful) whole raw pecans
2 heaping cups of salad greens

Salad dressing:
2 small soft very ripe strawberries
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp water

a few few grinds of black pepper

a few needles rosemary, minced
1 Tb extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
salad without dressing

Salad:Fry bacon over medium heat until well done. Drain on paper towels. Crumble when cool enough to handle.
Rinse greens and strawberries. Put greens in bowls; either one large or two smaller bowls. Sprinkle pecans and crumbled bacon over greens. Slice strawberries over salad.

Dressing: Slice over-ripe strawberries into a blender bowl and add rosemary, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar and water. Run on liquefy until strawberries are mostly liquefied. Add olive oil and run on liquefy until oil emulsifies. Pour over salad and toss so that it coats the greens.

Two Autumn Fruit Salads: Sweet and Spinach

All these fall fruits are in the colors of autumn leaves. My inner Martha Stewart told me to cut the fruits into the shapes of leaves and attach branches to them. My own self told Martha to bug off!

The tangy guava nicely balances the sweetness of the other fruits. Thanks to one of my co-workers who brought in the fruits from her tree, I was able to add them to the salad. The Fuyu persimmon is the small flat-bottom type that you can eat while it is crispy.

Serves 2

One bosc pear, one peeled kiwi fruit, two peeled Fuyu persimmons, two guavas, peeled, one apple, one branch of dark red or deep purple seedless grapes.

Halve the grapes and slice and chop the other fruits. Mix together with 2 Tb chopped pecans and walnuts.

My husband, Jesús, likes the salad plain, but I prefer to dress it with a tangy, sharp cheesy mixture of 1 tsp thick, chunky blue cheese dressing such as Marie’s, 1 tsp plain nonfat yogurt and 1 Tsp lemon juice.

I served a spinach autumn salad at dinnertime. I used one bosc pear, two peeled Fuyu persimmons,  two peeled guavas, and one apple and walnuts as above, and traded in the kiwi and grapes for avocado and grapefruit sections. Serve over spinach leaves with a teaspoon of Marie’s blue cheese dressing plus a teaspoon each of grapefruit juice and extra virgin olive oil, or just the blue cheese dressing straight from the jar.

Raspberry-Pecan Salad

This easy salad combines some of my favorite foods: fresh raspberries, pecans and feta cheese. I like to use Bulgarian sheep’s milk feta.

Fill each salad bowl with about 2 cups baby spinach or butter lettuce. Toss with about 2 Tb Raspberry vinaigrette. For each serving, add  a handful of  fresh raspberries (about 10), ¼ cup chopped pecans, and 2 Tb crumbled feta cheese.


Nutritional Info for salad only (made with spinach)

  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 278.2
  • Total Fat: 25.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 16.7 mg
  • Sodium: 256.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 9.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g

Pecan Waffles

One of the great delights of my childhood Sunday mornings was homemade waffles for breakfast. Light and delicious, we love them with the crunch of  pecans in the batter.  I cover these golden waffles with fresh raspberries, chopped strawberries and peaches, and pour Strawberry Sauce or a light glaze of pure maple syrup over them.

1 1/2  cups all purpose white  flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry (finely ground) flour

1 Tb ground flax seed

1 Tb Baking powder

3  Tb Sugar

a couple of shakes  salt

3 eggs separated

¼ tsp cream of tartar

6  Tb. Butter

3 cups milk (I use 1%)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

3/4 cup chopped pecans if desired

1/4 cup grated unsweetened coconut if desired

Separate eggs. I place each of whites in a cup before adding it to the bowl, just in case a bit of yolk gets in one of them.

Beat whites and cream of tartar until whites are stiff. Set aside.

Beat yolks with milk and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add flour mixture alternately to milk/yolk mixture, beating after each addition.

Melt butter. I put it in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Beat in butter and pecans.

Fold ½ cup egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold the batter into the rest of egg whites. I reserve some whites for the last batches, when it is mostly gone from the batter.

Heat waffle iron until the light goes out. Spray with a bit of coconut oil spray. Pour batter in the center of the iron, until it spreads out about 2/3 full.

Cook until the light goes out again and waffle is golden brown.

Make extra waffles for those sleepy weekday mornings. Make them a bit lighter so you can toast them. Put them between paper towels so they won’t be so soggy. Freeze them between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper, then wrap in foil or place in a freezer bag.

No Mayo Tarragon Chicken Salad with Yogurt

This chicken salad sings with flavor from anise-like fresh tarragon and fennel, balanced by thyme, lemon, and a bit of scallion.

I do NOT like mayonnaise,  plus it is loaded with calories (10 grams of fat in one tablespoon!), so I usually avoid chicken salads in delis and restaurants.  I use Mediterranean-style nonfat plain yogurt such as Karoun, which I find in Middle Eastern or South Asian markets. It is very thick like Greek yogurt, and has only 70 calories in a half-cup.

You can make the peas ahead of time. I suppose you could cook  frozen peas, but they won’t have the same crunch as parboiled fresh ones.

You can use a mix of light and dark meat, or just white meat, depending on what you want or have on hand. For the first batch I made, I used leftover roast chicken.

For the next batch, I poached boneless chicken breasts.  I salted them and browned them in olive oil. I then poured boiling water over it, and added a splash of white wine and a squeeze of lemon, several sprigs of tarragon and thyme and a spoonful of salt, and covered the pan, and boiled it for 10 minutes. I then turned off the flame and let it sit for  10 minutes. You can make the chicken ahead of time.

When making a large quantity for a crowd, I shredded the chicken by pulsing in the food processor. Then I transferred it to a large bowl to stir in the yogurt and other ingredients.

This recipe is pretty versatile for substituting vegetables. I added 2 Tb chopped pecans since my  South Texan husband loves pecans in almost anything.

1 cup shelled English peas

1 cup shredded cold chicken.

1 cup diced celery and/or jicama

2 Persian cucumbers, chopped.  (If you can’t find those, use 3/4 cup regular cucumbers.)

1/4  cup diced fennel root

½ cup plain nonfat Mediterranean or Greek yogurt

1 tsp minced fresh tarragon

½ tsp minced fresh thyme

1 tsp. minced shallot or red onion

1 Tb. minced green onion (scallion) about 1 stalk.

¼ salt or to taste

3 grinds pepper

1 Tb lemon juice (juice of 1 small lemon or ½ large lemon) preferably Meyer lemon

Shell about 1 pound English peas to make 1 cup, then parboil them for 2 minutes. Immediately cool them in ice water. I pour them through a strainer, then place the strainer in a bowl of ice water.

cooling peas in ice water

Dice chicken, cucumber and jicama, mix with cooled peas, and yogurt. Mince tarragon, thyme, shallot and green onion, add to chicken. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix well.

I bought some pita bread when I picked up the yogurt, so I tucked my chicken salad into  it.