Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Low carb salads


I was looking at my blog stats recently and it seems among the most popular posts are the ones that I have done on salads and packed lunches so I thought I would do a newer post on different salads and packed lunches that I like as since I wrote the last post I have discovered lots of different salads and ingredients that weren’t in the earlier posts.

I used to use the same base for all of my salads which was basically, always using lettuce (usually a mixture of lettuces like rocket, iceburg and romaine) then chopped cucumber and tomatoes and then I would add other ingredients from there.  In fact I often make a big salad base like this and keep it in a big bowl in the fridge and then take it out so that I can add to it as this is so quick!

However I have recently started using different ‘bases’ which mostly consist of either herbs or kale (or both!) My favourite herb bases consist of either all basil, again I usually use a mixture of normal and Greek basil, and sometimes Thai basil, which just tastes amazing when you add pine nuts and hard cheeses like Parmesan to it as it gives the whole salad a sort of pesto taste (and you will know that I LOVE pesto)! I also sometimes like basil and mint mix which gives the salad a really fresh, summery taste. I also have recently started using other herbs a lot like dill and coriander which again totally change the taste of the salad to the degree that you don’t even need as much dressing as you are getting so much flavour from the leaves.  Finally I now love using curly kale. I used to only eat this cooked but I have discovered that if you blitz it in a blender really well until it is finely chopped it tastes amazing as is such a great base for so many different salads plus you just know you’re eating so much goodness!  

So that’s the bases, once you have a great base it’s so easy to do the rest as you just layer it up with whatever you have in. I LOVE tomatoes and I especially love different types of tomatoes. I am a complete tomato snob and they are one ingredient that I won’t scrimp on and never mind paying more to get the best of. I love to use lots of different colours and sizes of tomatoes in my salads as they are so packed full of flavour. I chop them very small so you can use less and get more flavour. Plus tomatoes are relatively high in carbs so you do have to be quite careful if you’re trying to keep your carbs very low…

After tomatoes I usually add lots of cucumber because cucumber is filling and quite bulky yet v low in calories and carbs and calories. I used to always chop it quite roughly but I have recently started peeling it with a julienne peeler which just gives it a different texture and makes it a bit more interesting!

Following that I try to add something protein-y like hard boiled eggs, sliced quorn, cheese, preferably a hot cheese if I’m having it at home like halloumi or goats cheese, nuts, I especially like pine nuts or pistachio nuts. If I have any vegetables left over from my meal the night before I then add these, the usual cuprits include asparagus, samphire, broccoli, cauliflower or kale.

Following this I just add dressing and you’re ready to go! I plan to do a whole post on dressings soon so won’t go into too much detail but my favourites are either shop bought Caesar which is so low in carbs and great in a rush, a dip like cheese and chive which again is great if you’re rushing. Otherwise I use pesto either shop bought or homemade (you can find my recipes for my homemade pestos here or here), or I might make a dressing myself, using whatever I have in that goes well, I like soy and ginger, soy and lemon, mashed avocado with lemon and lime, mashed avocado with soy and lemon or mint, basil and ginger.

Hope these have given you some ideas!

I’d love to hear other peoples low carb salad ideas!

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© The Vegetarian Atkins Diary

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