It’s been nearly a year since I lost 40 lbs. I still can’t believe it. After nearly three decades of weight loss highs and lows, I feel like I’ve finally figured it out. I owe a big part of my success to ditching prepackaged “diet” meals and looking at salads with appreciation instead of trepidation. I used to mix “safe” greens (think iceberg or the occasional romaine blend if I was feeling wild) with some hideous bottled low-fat dressing and call it a day. I dreaded eating it and ultimately gave up on salads altogether.
This time around, salad opened a whole new world for me. What I had been tossing together in the past was uninspired, sad food. But I had been overlooking the diversity and beauty of making a salad into a satisfying meal; the many textures and tastes of greens, various meats and nuts added for protein and the amazing variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits to sprinkle throughout. Toss this with a homemade dressing that comes together in minutes and you’ve got vegetable nirvana.
My husband and two young boys have taken to calling me “the brontosaurus” because of my newfound love of greens. I have to say, I’m one happy brontosaurus and I want everyone else to be one too!
In true brontosaurus nature, when I found some Mache greens at our local discount grocery store, I immediately ran home and threw together this salad. The sweet apples balance the bite of blue cheese and some (slightly over-toasted) pecans I had laying around added a bit of crunch. I tossed it all with a bit of apple cider vinaigrette. Lunch perfection. And only about 300 satisfying calories if you dress it lightly.
*If you can’t find Mache (since I usually can’t either, living in such a small town), substitute any tender, mild greens.
Mache Salad with Blue Cheese, Apples & Pecans with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
8 oz Mache or other tender, mild greens
2 pink lady or gala apples, cored, thinly sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
Apple Cider Dressing
3/4 cup apple cider
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp minced shallots
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Combine Mache, blue cheese and pecans.
For dressing: Combine cider, vinegar and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until cider is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 6-8 minutes. Off heat, whisk in remaining ingredients.
Top with apple slices and drizzle with vinaigrette.