Tropical Salad: Low Fat Salad With Low Fat Salad Dressing
Healthy, Low Fat Salad That's Easy To Make
I'm a big fan of making dishes that are quick and easy to put together. Also, because I'm currently trying to loose weight, I've been making and eating a lot of low fat dishes. This is why I enjoy making salads. They're filling, a great way to get in fruits and vegetables and can be a satisfying, low-fat meal. I especially like having a low fat salad in the summer when it's hot and I just don't feel like having a hot meal, like meat or soup. Also, during the summer some great fruits are available.
I recently put together this tropical salad for a "tropical luau" dinner party that we held for friends. Since I was making several dishes, I needed a few that could be put together without much fuss. So I combined a bunch of different tropical vegetables and fruits and voila! Tropical salad, a low fat salad with low fat salad dressing. My friends loved it so much that a few even asked for the recipe -- and it took me less than 10 minutes to prepare! Our tropical luau was a success.
My tropical salad is indeed quite simple, but also contains very healthy ingredients: baby spinach, which is a great source of iron, folate, calcium, Vitaminn A and Vitamin C; hearts of palm, which have very few calories and provide much-needed fiber; mangos, which are a great source of beta carotene, potassium and antioxidants -- and help fight against cancers; and avocados, which are great for hair and skin and help lower cholesterol.
Meanwhile, aside from having those health benefits of avocados, mangos, spinach and hearts of palm, my low fat salad dressing is a raspberry vinaigrette. The health benefits of raspberries are also great as they contain antioxidants and fiber.
As healthy as this low fat salad is, though, it's yummy! The hearts of palm provide a nice crunch, while the mangos add juiciness and the avocados give it a creamy texture. The sweetness of these fruits plays off well against the biterrness of the spinach and the tartness of the low fat salad dressing. All of the flavors and textures complement the others so that the ingredients come together in a perfectly delicious combination.
So if you're looking for a healthy, easy to make and low fat salad this summer -- or ANY time of year -- this tropical salad is worth digging into. You won't even need dessert.
Low Fat Salad Dressing: Raspberry Vinaigrette
1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (I prefer fresh because they're easier to work with)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp low fat or fat free maple syrup
Pinch of salt and pepper
1. If using frozen raspberries, let them thaw until soft and easy to work with.
2. Stir or blend all of the ingredients until they are smooth and the raspberries are no longer pulpy.
3. Adjust mustard, syrup and seasonings to taste, depending on how sweet or tart you prefer the dressing.
4. Add a little to the tropical salad, serving the remainder in a small bowl for the diners to add as they please.
How To Cut An Avocado
How To Cut A Mango
Health Benefits Of Avocados
Tropical Salad With Baby Spinach, Avocados, Mangos And Hearts Of Palm
2 bags (approximately 4 cups baby spinach)
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe mango
1 can hearts of palm
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Low Fat raspberry vinaigrette, store-bought or homemade (see recipe sidebar)
1. Rinse spinach leaves, then press to remove the moisture. Place in a large salad bowl.
2. Cut the avocado into bite-sized pieces. The best way to do this is to cut it in half while the peel is still on, being careful to cut AROUND and not into the large pit. Carefully separate the halves (the pit should still be attached to one half at this point). Remove the pit, being careful not to cut the flesh of the fruit. Slice the avocado length-wise, while still in the skin, then slice cross-wise. Bend back the skin and the pieces of avocado should pop right out, though you will probably need a spoon to scoop them entirely out of the flesh.
3. Place the avocado pieces in a small bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice over them. The lemon juice will help preserve the green color and prevent the avocado from turning brown.
4. Cut the mango into bite-sized pieces, following the same method as the avocado and remove the seeds.
5. Add the avocado and mango pieces to the baby spinach leaves in the salad bowl.
6. Open can of hearts of palm and drain liquid. Cut each heart of palm into small rounds. Add the hearts of palm to the rest of the ingredients.
7. At this point, you can toss the salad, but I prefer not to because the ingredients look so pretty and colorful placed on top of the baby spinach.
8. Add raspberry vinaigrette to taste. I prefer to only sprinkle on a spoonful or two, so it doesn't drown the other salad ingredients. The spinach leaves should stay crisp and the salad shouldn't be overly sweet or tart. A little low fat salad dressing goes a long way.
9. For a party, this is fun to serve with some tropical luau decorations, such as tropical flowers. And it goes great with tropical drinks, such as pina coladas, margaritas and sangria.
Makes about 4 servings, but you can multiply the recipe for larger groups or parties.
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