This beautiful chop salad recipe was to be my attempt at a meatless Monday post but was thwarted thanks to a nasty case of stomach flu which had me laid-up in bed for the past two days. It’s now day three and I still don’t feel terribly fabulous. About all my stomach will allow at this stage is small sips of water, lemonade popsicles and a few bites of baked potato. Talk about a forced diet. What I’d really like is icy cold watermelon.
I made this salad early into the Easter weekend before stomach flu took hold. As you know I’ve been working on including my fruits and vegetables into my already pretty healthy diet because I want to lose weight. Something is working because I’ve lost almost 20 pounds since starting my new regiment. Of course being sick helped with some of the weight loss but before I got sick I was working it baby – riding Wild Cherry almost daily, drinking loads of water, not so much wine, juicing most mornings and eating a lot more veggies. Consistency is key. It’s easy for me to eat healthy because I love vegetables & the vast array of recipes you can create with them. No longer relegated as mere side dishes any more, they’ve come into their own.
This salad is a prime example: It’s a meal in itself and although you could add some grilled chicken, beef or shrimp to it but it was pretty scrumptious just as-is. Loaded with super foods such as avocado, sweet potatoes and black beans, it’s easy to eat healthy when it’s this delicious. Avocados are heart-healthy so squish them on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise. Or on toast with slices of tomato. Sweet potatoes are delicious hot or cold in almost anything & if you’re not eating them you need to be. They’re loaded with antioxidants – vitamin A, Vitamin C, B vitamins, minerals and fiber. In salads or a frittata they shine.
The dressing was simple – fresh lime juice, a little balsamic with some smoked paprika. You could add adobo sauce instead of the smoked paprika. I used what I had on hand. If you wanted to make this creamy then add some sour cream or buttermilk.
We attempted an alfresco lunch on the porch…ha…it’s early April and already Florida is hot and humid. I felt like I was wilting faster than the lettuce. So I few bites outside before we whisked our lunch back into the heavenly air conditioning. So much better.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce (or mixed lettuce, I used romaine and oak leaf)
- 15.5 oz (439g) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cup thinly sliced red pepper (capsicum)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (coriander)
- 1/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, drained
- 2 avocadoes, cubed
- 6 oz (170g) feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
- SMOKY BALSAMIC LIME DRESSING
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- To make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid; shake until thoroughly mixed.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss oil, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper on the baking sheet. Arrange sweet potato in a single layer. Roast 45 minutes, turning once during cooking, until potato is tender and lightly browned; cool.
- Arrange lettuce on individual serving plates. Top with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, onion, pepper, cilantro, jalapeno & avocado.
- Drizzle with dressing; sprinkle with feta and pepitas.