Gretchen vs. Shelley – Round 1: Salads
~ Two versions of one healthy, delicious, simple salad! Toss it all in a bowl, and you’re ready to go! Perfect for picnics, parties, or just a great lunch! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Vegetarian • Gluten Free •
Today is your lucky day if you like deals. Because today, friends, we are offering you not one, but TWO fabulous recipes! Well, sort of …
As Shelley and I were chatting one day about what recipes we wanted to feature on our blog, we (literally!) at the same moment said, “Oooohhhh! I know! I have this great, super-easy salad I make all the time!”
After we burst out laughing and did the whole, “Jinx! You owe me a soda!” thing, we shared our recipes with each other. We realized we have exactly the same recipe, but it is totally different. Do ya follow?
These salad recipes are essentially the same. Similar idea. Yet, we each have a slightly different version that we absolutely swear by. It just goes to show that you can (and should!) get creative in the kitchen and find the groove that works for you!
No matter which version you choose, we promise that it’ll be wonderfully easy to make – and you will be a total rock star if you show up at the neighbors’ BBQ or the next family reunion with this in your arms.
To be perfectly honest, we’re not entirely sure why it’s always such a hit. It’s really just thrown together (and typically we have most all of the ingredients on hand), but for some reason, people can’t seem to get enough of it! As in, scraping the plate clean. We may or may not have seen friends and family actually licking the plate. That’s another story …
The base of our two salads is a lot alike: greens (of some sort), nuts (of some variety), dried cranberries and reduced-fat feta cheese.
We differ, though, on the specific lettuce and nut choices.
Shelley typically uses spinach and always, always uses cashews. She loves the decadent, salty crunch of the cashews. And, there’s the extra nutritional boost of the spinach (just like in our Spinach Salad with Apples, Cheddar and Smoked Almonds). No doubt, spinach is often called a superfood for a reason – lots of antioxidants and oodles of Vitamins A & C!
On the other hand, though, I use spring mix greens and walnuts. I love the different textures and colors of the mixed lettuces. Plus, walnuts have less sodium and saturated fat than cashews, as well as double the fiber. They’re also a good source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats (the good-for-you kind!).
We differ just a bit on the dressings, as well. My go-to is always balsamic, and before serving, I drizzle it evenly over the salad. Shelley offers both balsamic and Caesar, on the side. Either way, unless you make your own homemade dressings, we recommend that you read your nutrition labels carefully, because purchased salad dressings can be laden with fat, sodium and other party-poopers like high-fructose corn syrup.
Now, go forth and make this salad. Just be prepared for the fanfare that will follow. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Start by arranging the greens in a serving bowl (and when we say arranging, we pretty much mean: dump them in!). Next, generously sprinkle the nuts, feta and cranberries over the greens. If you’re like me and you choose to dress the salad before serving, wait until right before it will be served to drizzle the dressing. Otherwise … soggy salad. Yuck!
That’s it. Ridiculously easy, ridiculously good!
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
- Balsamic or Caesar dressing for serving
- 5 ounces spring mix
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 reduced-fat feta cheese
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 1/3 cup balsamic dressing
- Place greens into a large serving bowl.
- Sprinkle cranberries, nuts and feta on top.
- Serve with dressing on the side, or drizzle with dressing just before serving.
Be sure to check labels and choose natural, reduced-fat or organic salad dressings whenever possible ... or even better – make your own!