Friday, September 7, 2012

Chopped Salad with Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette

Oh heeey!  I'm back.  Guess who has lost 7 pounds?  This girl!  Yep, that's right!
The other possible correct answer to the above question would be "Ann's husband, the poor dear".  One of the first things he asked when I told him about the new eating plan was a very sullen question: "does this mean I'm on a diet too?".  Ummmm, yes.  Yes you are.  "My diet is your diet" is how we roll at this house.  Homeboy needs to carbo load on a Big Country Bacon Breakfast Platter with a side of Monster Biscuit at Hardee's on his way to work.  And to swim in a sea of lard on his way to Jimmy John's for lunch.  This is pretty much the only way he won't waste away to nothing while living with Ann on a diet.  Tough life the man leads, huh?
Anyway, we're a week and a half in, and he hasn't starved to death yet, although there have been some close calls.  But for the record, I feel amazing and haven't starved to death either.  Turns out that salad is pretty tasty, and they make your belly much flatter.  They aren't as yummy as french fries, but really, what is?  Mmmmm.....french fries......
Gah!  I digress!  Anyway, I whipped up this salad to take to a Labor Day get-together.  Speaking of said get-together, it was totally reminiscent of a middle school dance.  During cocktail time before we ate, the men stayed outside staring at the grill preparing the grill, and the ladies sat inside watching The Hills marathon the news.  When it was time to eat, we realized there wasn't room at the table for everyone, so we split up....girl's table and boy's table.  In case you've never considered this idea for a dinner party, it's time to do so.  It's actually not such a bad idea.  Especially if the man table is outside.
So!  Salad.  I love a chopped salad because I hate big pieces of lettuce that impede my ability to get the perfect forkful of mixed salad goodness.  You know what a perfect salad bite is....just the right amount of greens, cheese, meat, random veggies AND dressing all on your fork at the same time.  Amazing.  Well, anyway, chopped salad ensures that with every bite.  It also takes a boatload of time to prepare since you want all ingredients to be approximately the same size, but it's worth it.  Just add a simple vinaigrette and you are good to go.  Healthy, protein-rich deliciousness!  Enjoy.

Chopped Salad with Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette
Source: my own, inspired by my new diet
2 Romaine hearts, chopped finely
4 handfuls arugula, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if they are big)
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 6-inch log Italian salami, chopped
1 fist-sized block cheese, chopped (I used 1/2 white cheddar and 1/2 Havarti, both reduced fat)
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
7-8 white mushrooms, chopped
1 English (seedless) cucumber, chopped
Handful turkey pepperoni, chopped
For the dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 tablespoons good olive oil (or more of less to your liking)
First, mix the salad:
Add all chopped vegetables, meat, and cheese into a large bowl.  Stir to combine. 
Next, make the dressing:
Add lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, S&P, and Italian seasoning to a small bowl.  Stir to combine.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until well combined. 

Serve salad and top with dressing.

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