Category: Salads

Quinoa Salad

Red Quinoa Salad with a generous dose of veggies:)

Quinoa, packed with protein and loaded with fibre, is one the more popular superfoods of the day. Anyone who has eaten quinoa is almost always thankful that this yummy food, which comes in red and white, is good for you :)!

Today, I made this oil-free  light yet filling quinoa salad that looked as good as it tasted. And when I ate it for lunch this afternoon, it kept me full till the evening. It’s super easy to make so here goes the recipe  (for two meal-sized servings) —

Cook quinoa in water as per the instructions on the packet. I cooked one cup of raw quinoa. Then, chop half a large onion, two medium-sized tomatoes and a generous handful of coriander leaves aka cilantro. Cook two corn cobs in the microwave or grill. Shave the corn kernels and mix them with chopped vegetables and 200 g of cooked black beans. Season with salt, lemon juice and five finely chopped small green chilies. Add quinoa to the vegetable mix, a little at a time. Stop when you have the desired ratio of quinoa to veggies. Mix and adjust the seasoning. Serve the quinoa salad cold.

Needless to say, you could add peppers, cucumbers, avocado, sliced radishes or anything else you wish to the quinoa salad.

Lettuce wraps are a delicious departure from salads, making them the ideal dish for me to play around with. Of course leanness was a major consideration so I went in for extra lean ground chicken. You could use lean ground turkey, fish or lean beef if you like. Also, I kept the oil and the sauces light so that the calories would not pile up. Despite the caution with respect to calories, my husband and I were unable to control our portions because the meat and the wraps were so succulent and flavourful. Hope you guys enjoy the recipe just as much!

The following recipe serves two to three people.

Cooking the meat

You will need:

450 g of extra lean ground chicken

One large onion – diced

Three green chili peppers (or to taste)

Canola oil, two tablespoons of sesame oil (optional)

Four fat pods of garlic, one-inch cube of ginger – ground

One and a half tablespoons each of Hoisin sauce, Soy Sauce and Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Salt to taste

Lemon juice to taste

A handful of coriander leaves (cilantro) (optional)

Method of preparation:

Coat a slightly heated skillet with a little canola oil or any other neutral oil of your choice. Add a diced large onion, diced chili peppers and ginger and garlic pastes to the skillet and cook them till the onion pieces cook through. Then, add in about half a tablespoon of salt. Add in the ground meat. Stir randomly till the meat cooks through. Lower the flame.

In a separate cup, add in about a tablespoon and a half of the Hoisin, Sweet Chili Pepper and Soy sauces and mix. Add three fourth of this sauce mixture and a tablespoon of lemon juice to the meat mixture and mix. Taste and adjust for salt, lemon and the three sauce mixture as per your taste. Turn off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves a.k.a. cilantro.

Other components

To add crunch to the wrap filling and to enhance the Thai flavor of the wrap, chop up some peanuts and toast them. Also grate up about three small carrots, chop up three green onions (scallions) and wash up some bean sprouts.

Assembling the lettuce wrap:

Separate the leaves of the lettuce carefully. Use the lettuce leaves like a taco. Use one or two leaves as a cup. Add in some meat filling, peanuts, carrot, scallions and bean shoots. Take a bite and give us your verdict! :)

Cooked, Spiced and Sauced Lean Ground Chicken

Garnish for the wraps!

Chopped and toasted peanuts

Salmon – Baby Spinach – Pomegranate Salad

Salads are great for home cooks looking to put their creative juices to constructive use! Salad customization isn’t a new concept, most salad bars do it but somehow the average salad bar seems to be incapable of pushing the envelope. So all you have to do is a slightly unusual pairing that pops in your mouth and even those who don’t usually reach for the salad sit up and take notice!

Today, I tossed baby spinach, toasted chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds with salt-pepper-garlic crusted salmon baked in the oven. I must mention that I left the skin on and crisped the skin in an oil-coated skillet before I transferred the skillet to a preheated oven. Of course you can cook the fish the way you like it but the purpose of the blog is to publicize the fact that these ingredients work  very well together.

Here are a few specifics to help you recreate the dish. I slathered the fish with an olive oil – garlic – salt – pepper paste. I used some of the same oil to crisp the skin of the fish on  a stove top. Then I flipped the side and cooked it briefly. I transferred the fish to the oven and let it bake. The time-temperature adjustments would vary with the size of your fish. While the fish was cooking, I de-seeded slightly more than half a large pomegranate, mixed it with some washed baby spinach and toasted walnuts. I seasoned this salad mixture with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Once the fish was done, I let it rest for a couple of minutes. Then, I sliced the fish and added it to the salad.

This salad works on its own or with a toasted piece of bread.

This series of articles titled Eating Like Okinawan Centenarians work off the concepts outlined in the book The Okinawa Program — How the World’s Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health — And How You Can Too. The book authored by a team of medical and scientific experts documents the diet, exercise and lifestyle practices of the world’s healthiest, long-lived  people and suggests ways in which we can incorporate those practices in our own lives.

Lean Streak will discuss several of these practices one at a time and give practical ways to incorporate them in our daily diet.

Watch Your Egg Consumption

Okinawan elders use eggs on a regular basis but the portions are small.

 According to the medical experts who conducted the landmark study that resulted in the publication of The Okinawa Program, seven or fewer eggs is plenty for most people and four eggs is sufficient for people with cholesterol issues. We all know that the debate about eggs centers on the yolk. On the one hand the yolk is fatty and is packed with cholesterol. On the other hand, recent studies suggest that dietary cholesterol doesn’t impact your blood cholesterol as much as fat does. Many dietitians may have removed eggs from their danger list but it’s best to honor the fact that the jury is still out on the issue.  Therefore, when it comes to eggs, moderations seems to be the way to go. Of course, if you are really craving more than a few eggs, feel free to load on egg whites or egg substitutes.

Omega-3 eggs from chickens fed diets high in Omega-3 and free-range eggs from chickens allowed to roam and eat a variety of grains are better alternatives than the regular eggs.

Lean Streak Tip

Use boiled eggs in salads. Make sure that the bulk of the salad comes from vegetables and fruits. This way you can combine the heartiness of the egg with the lightness of the salad. This would also be a great way to achieve other great Okinawan eating principles such as Eat Ten Vegetable and Fruits Daily, Minimize Your Animal Food Consumption and Incorporate Different Colors and Food Types on Your Plate.

A mouth-watering egg salad that fits the requirements:

Cut up a boiled egg and toss it with a half to three-fourth of an avocado (cubed), a handful of cherry tomatoes, a cut green chili, a pinch of salt and dash of lime juice. Feel free to add in some lettuce or spinach. Serve with a whole grain toast to make it a complete meal.

Egg, Avocado, Tomato and Spinach Salad with Whole Grain Toast — A Perfect Example of Restricting Egg Consumption!

I’d feel silly to give you an exact recipe for this dish. It’s a go-with-the flow kinda creation. The ingredients I used are an avacado, a tomato, a little salt, lemon juice,

Avacado: Nutrition Facts

some chopped green Thai chili and a tablespoon of chopped green onion and a little chopped cilantro or coriander leaves. But I’d encourage you to go with your pantry and throw in some cucumber cubes, use jalapenos or cracked black pepper instead of green chilies or opt for thinly slices radishes instead of the scallions. Nuts or olives are also always a good addition.

Of course those process is simple. Chop the veggies. Add the seasoning and garnishes and toss. Be cautious so as not to over season. Bon Appetit!


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