Making Super Salads Using MyPlate Food Groups
Questions or comments? Email author: Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
What could be simpler in the summer time (or anytime) than a main dish salad. With a little planning, it's even possible to include all of the recommended MyPlate Food Groups in your salad, especially if you count avocados as FRUITS!
Cooked dry beans can count in either the Protein or the Vegetable group.
Following are some salad recipes and tips to help you get the most from your summer salads! See how many food groups you can include in your salad! Go easy on the dressing (about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons per 2 cups of salad) to keep calories in check.
|RECIPE & TIPS||Comments||MyPlate Food Group(s) included|
(in a collection of recipes)
|Make a double batch of pasta so you only have to heat up the stove once. To use pasta in a cold salad, the National Pasta Association (NPA) says to "drain, rinse with COLD water, and immediately drain again. Then proceed to prepare your dish." |
NPA advises, "Refrigerate cooked pasta in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. You may add a little oil (1-2 tsp. for each pound of cooked pasta) to help keep it from sticking."
|Mexican Beef Salad||Learn more about cooking with lean beef cuts HERE.|
(in a collection of recipes)
|Keep a couple of cans of cooked dry beans in your cupboard for quick & easy main dish summer salads. Learn more about beans HERE.|
|Greek Rice Salad||Made with brown rice -- prepare earlier in the day for easy eating later on. Learn more about cooking with brown rice HERE. Simplify cooking rice by using a rice cooker.|
|Mighty Caesar Salad||This salad uses a homemade yogurt-based dressing.|
|Yogurt Salad Dressing||Use any additional yogurt in this cool smoothie recipe.|
|Microwave-toasted nuts and seeds||Use the microwave to quickly kick up the taste of nuts and seeds without turning on your stove or oven.|
|Hard-cooked eggs||Hard-cook several eggs at one time and use in salads throughout the week.|
For directions on washing fruits and vegetables, check HERE
|Includes directions for keeping cut apples and pears from turning brown. Prepare them earlier in the day for easy use in a salad later in the day.|
|Dried fruit: cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raisins||Add texture, sweetness and healthy antioxidants, too!|
Salad greens and fresh herbs: save time with a salad spinner
|A salad spinner makes quick work of drying salad greens and fresh herbs.|
|Avocado slices: learn how to peel one HERE||Avocados provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat -- did you know they're considered a fruit?|
|Bell peppers (red, green, yellow, etc.)||Learn how to freeze extra peppers HERE|
|Tomatoes||If you end up with extra tomatoes, freeze them -- WITH or without their skins on -- learn how HERE. Ripen tomatoes at room temperature, shoulder side up.|
|Fresh or thawed frozen corn and peas||Quickly thaw frozen corn and peas by placing them in a colander and holding under cool running water for about 30 seconds or until thawed. Drain thoroughly.|
|Sliced onions such as red onions and green onions (include stem of green onions)||If onions make you cry, check HERE.|
|Grilled meat: make quick work of grilling meat for tossing on a salad with double-sided indoor grill -- HERE||Quickly cook meat indoors without turning on the stove by using a double-sided grill. While the meat is cooking, assemble your salad. Slice and toss in the meat when done.|