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Savor These Salads… Lettuce Explain Why!

salad recipes

Have you had your salad today? According to health experts, eating salad almost every day may be one of the healthiest habits you can have.

And, of course, eating salads is one of the simplest ways to eat more fruits and vegetables, which contributes to overall health.

Remember when salads were considered simply a side dish? Now there are main dish salads that can serve as an entire meal. And almost every restaurant offers an assortment of salads. These days you can even order salads at most fast food chains. Also, for ultimate convenience, grocery stores offer complete salads in a bag, pre-washed.

Did You Know?…

Here are a dozen fun facts about salads:

  1. A bell pepper is actually a fruit since it develops from a flower and has seeds (cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash can be considered fruits for the same reason).
  2. Avocados have a lot of fat, but it’s the good kind of fat that helps lower cholesterol.
  3. One cup of chopped watercress provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin K.
  4. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods and is loaded with powerful antioxidants.
  5. Ounce for ounce, kiwis have more vitamin C than oranges (and are also high in potassium).
  6. Two cups of chopped romaine lettuce (as in a Caesar salad) contain 40 percent of your daily needs of folate and 10 percent of your daily fiber needs.
  7. Two cups of spinach contain almost 20 percent of your daily magnesium needs.
  8. Starting your meals with a bowl of salad will help you attain weight loss. No surprise, since salads can be low in calories and are high in fiber. Fiber helps you feel full, making you eat the remaining foods in your meal less and ultimately helping you lose weight.
  9. The Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens nearly 2,000 years ago.
  10. Ranch is the most popular salad dressing, preferred by 40% of salad consumers.
  11. Lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable in the U.S., with potatoes coming in at no. 1. The average American eats roughly 30 pounds of lettuce each year.
  12. May is National Salad Month.

But What about All the Calories?

When it comes to calories, an otherwise healthy salad can quickly move into the unhealthy category if it’s loaded with high-fat salad dressing. One tablespoon of vegetable oil has about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, but it has little saturated fat and no cholesterol. However, as long as you watch the serving size, salad dressings have nutritional benefits. Some dietary fat helps your body properly absorb vitamins A, E and K, so vegetable oil helps you get the most nutrients from your salad.

When you’re watching calories, choose a low-fat or fat-free dressing, or use the tried and true “dip and stab” method (with the dressing on the side you simply dip your fork in the dressing before stabbing a bite of salad each time). And go easy on the “extras” – just use a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese, a tablespoon of raisins or sunflower seeds, a half-cup of croutons.

Now, on to the good stuff!…

Asian Chicken Salad Recipe

Easy peasy but oh-so-tasty, and perfect for a lighter, savory meal!
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lean chicken breasts cooked and chopped
  • 2 ounces toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 package shredded cabbage mixture
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 package Ramen noodles (uncooked) chicken flavor
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon MSG Ac’cent® brand was used in this recipe.
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the salad ingredients together.

  2. For the dressing, combine the vinegar, oil, sugar, Ac’cent®, pepper and salt in a jar or container with a lid. Shake vigorously until dressing is mixed well. Pour dressing over the salad, toss and serve.

  3. Optional: top salad with mandarin orange slices.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Yummly.com

photo credit: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Recipes_Wiki 

“Skinny” Chicken Salad Recipe

The secret to this lighter version of a traditional recipe is the Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. De-light-ful!
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 13 oz. can of cooked chicken breast rotisserie chicken works well also, shredded
  • 1 cup green grapes halved
  • ½ cup cashew halves/pieces
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon  Ac’cent® flavor enhancer

Instructions

  1. Shred the canned chicken into a large bowl, using a fork.
  2. Add the grapes, cashews, dried cranberries, Greek yogurt and Ac’cent. Mix until combined.
  3. Serve over lettuce or as a lettuce wrap.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of DessertNowDinnerLater.com

photo credit: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Recipes_Wiki 

Soccer Salad Recipe

Toasted almonds, sesame seeds, bacon, and chow mein noodles provide delicious “crunch” in this popular Asian-inspired salad.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (umami seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 heads leaf lettuce - rinsed dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup chow mein noodles

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. Spread the almonds and sesame seeds onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the almonds are just turning golden brown, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate, cool, and crumble.
  5. Make the dressing by shaking the sugar, vinegar, MSG, vegetable oil, and garlic in a glass jar with a sealable lid until mixed. Combine the cooled almonds, sesame seeds, crumbled bacon, lettuce, and chow mein noodles in a bowl. Pour the dressing over top and gently toss until coated.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Curry Rice Salad with Shrimp

This salad featuring shrimp is perfect for summer as a side dish or an entree!

Course Salad
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 10 ounce package frozen peas do not cook
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 8 ounce can shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cups celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion chopped

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix salad ingredients together.

  2. Shake all dressing ingredients together and combine with salad mixture.

  3. Chill.

Recipe Notes

Courtesy of Food.com 

Hidden Valley (Copycat) Ranch Dressing Recipe

Ranch is the salad dressing that consumers prefer most, but it’s also high in calories and fat. This recipe is not on the “lighter” side so here’s where you can put the dip and stab method (mentioned earlier) to work!
Yields 1 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • pinch dried thyme

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and chill for several hours before using.

Recipe courtesy of Yummly.com

For a variation of this Ranch Dressing Recipe, you will definitely want to check this out: “The Best Ranch Dressing” recipe, by Stacey Little of SouthernBite.com. Stacey explains: “This is seriously the best ranch I’ve had.  So I named it such!”

And here’s an interesting tip about seasoning your greens separately, with a few sprinkles of MSG.


Buttermilk Salad Dressing Recipe

Made with fat-free mayonnaise but still creamy and delicious!
Yields 2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (more if a thinner dressing is desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • cracked pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together and let it stand overnight.
  2. Toss it with mixed greens.
  3. Crumbled blue cheese may be added (or a little cottage cheese, just for texture).

Recipe courtesy of Yummly.com

About MSGdishTeam

The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

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