As May slowly comes to a close so does National Salad Month, however looking back it should have taught us all a very valuable lesson in the importance of healthy eating. Health experts world over suggest the importance of including salads in our daily diet to look and feel better. Salads are a good source of much needed fiber, which in turn helps you to feel full. Hence you end up consuming less food, leading to weight loss. Fiber is a natural way of lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining your digestive system. Similarly, consuming green salads increases the production of antioxidants in your body to prevent diseases. For a healthy lifestyle many nutritionists suggest including 2 1/2 bowls of vegetables in a 2000-calorie diet each day. This requirement can be fulfilled by eating salad for lunch or dinner.
Health benefits are aplenty and if it tastes good, it satiates your palate too. Hence its always best to experiment with the dressing to avoid getting bored of eating the same vegetables day in and day out. The recipes I have tried out prior to this one have all been cold salads, best eaten straight out of the refrigerator. This experiment was aimed at creating a satiating dinner meal; in simple terms best eaten when hot. Like any other salad, you can use any meat or seafood of your choice, and if allergic to peanuts, try adding croutons. The crunch factor always heightens the salad experience for me.
- 2-3 chicken fillets, sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 tsp minced garlic
- 4 tsp red chilli flakes
- Iceberg/Romaine lettuce or mixed green
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Toasted peanuts
- Slice the chicken fillets and place them in a bowl. Add the olive oil, 2 tsp garlic, 2 tsp chilli flakes, salt and mix well together till the chicken is coated completely. Set aside for at least 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, toss the greens and cucumber together in a salad bowl. Set aside till required
- In a separate bowl, pour the soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey. Stir till the honey has dissolved in the dressing
- Prepare the rest of the salad right before serving
- Heat olive oil in a pan and add the chicken. Lightly pan-fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes till semi-cooked
- Remove the chicken from the pan and lower the heat
- Add the remaining minced garlic and chilli flakes to the same pan. Stir for 2 minutes till fragrant
- Add the chopped carrot and cook in the spices till slightly tender
- At this point, place the chicken back into the pan along with the toasted peanuts. Give it a good stir
- Pour the dressing into the pan and mix all the ingredients till they are well coated. Stir for not more than 2-3 minutes otherwise the dressing will dry up
- Turn off the heat and spoon the chicken mixture atop the salad and cucumbers.
- Pour the remaining dressing
- Garnish with coriander and serve hot
To get the best of all the flavors, toss the salad well once the dressing has been poured in. It should coat the lettuce and the cucumbers thoroughly. The warmth generated by the spices and the hot dressing is complemented by the sweet hints of honey. It is truly a fulfilling bowl of salad, one which is healthy and nutritious. Accompanied by soup it can create a hearty supper. Do not end your quest for healthy salads once this month ends, use it as a stepping stone towards creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself and your family.