With Valentine’s a week behind us now and all the chocolates eaten (I thought about hiding some in my secret spot, but none were spared this year) and with this unbelievably warm weather in the middle of February, I’m getting major spring fever vibes and realizing it’ll be time to peel off all the layers before we know it. And right after spring comes summer of course. I know, I know, I’m jumping way ahead here but it’s all got me in a very light and springy mood and so with that comes light and springy food!
I don’t know about most of you mamas (or dads) out there but lunch is something of a mystery to me most days. It often consists of leftover crumbs of my kid’s breakfast or even their school lunch made that morning. Once in a while, I treat myself to a real sit down meal for lunch and as rare as that may be, I’m going to to try and do a whole lot more now. It’s an important meal because as busy parents, we really need lunch to carry us through the rest of the busy day. Right after lunch comes school pickups and activities, park and play time, homework, dinner, bath and bed so we need as much fuel as we can store up to pull that all off!
I love a good salad for lunch. That’s always been my favorite go to but most days I honestly don’t have the time or energy to chop up all those ingredients! Even with the kids all in school now, I find there’s so much to do and so many more projects I’m taking on, that I don’t often carve out that time for lunch. I’m also admittedly not that mama who preps meals on the weekend to have for the whole week. I SO want to be that person but I’m not….yet. Maybe one day, and perhaps you’ll even join me on that journey, but for now if you’re anything like me, more fly by the seat of your pants, here a few salads that you can make in no time that are healthy and delicious.
The one caveat I’ll add is to the non existent meal prep sitch is that if you like grilled chicken on your salad, you can cook that up over the weekend (we love it cooked lemony style on the Foreman grill) to have it for the week. We often make sure to have that for the kids to throw in their salads or sometimes when we’re out of time, we buy some fresh grilled chicken at our local supermarket. I’m not a huge chicken person though, so I don’t often feel the need it to fill up on it when I have my lunch salads, but if you do, that’s an option for any of these quick & easy salads. Tuna could also work well on the arugula & Parmesan one and that’s super easy.
My favorite super quick & easy go to salad at home is made with baby arugula, roasted red peppers, red onion with frosting on top, I mean froth, ok, it’s grated Parmesan really, but doesn’t Parm makes everything tastier and happier? I love that you don’t need a whole lot (though you really couldn’t tell that from this heaping mountain of the good stuff!) to flavor salad or veggies or anything at all for that matter.
The key here is to finely grate or zest it onto the salad with my fave Microplane zester (above). This was a little tip I once received from a well known NYC chef. Seriously delicious and if I could just stop eating it off my salad before I mixed it all in with the dressing (which btw is super easy, just whisk olive oil and a few squeezes of lemon with a dash of salt & pepper), it blends perfectly in with the dressing plus creates a divine flavor and texture. Like I said, throw on some lemony grilled chicken or even tuna if you like, (grilled shrimp when you want to get really fancy) and you’ve got yourself a lovely lunch salad.
Next is another fave of mine. So simple, healthy and delicious. This one makes me feel like summer is around the corner. I’m starting to see really, red, ripe and juicy strawberries in the market, and that means it’s time for a salad made with these gems.
Here I pair them with a baby spring blend of lettuce, pecans and goat cheese. I don’t always have time to make homemade dressing (honey balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe to come soon though!), so Annie’s Balsamic (with a touch of fresh honey mixed in for a little more sweetness) will do just fine! Berries and pecans- super healthy, antioxidants, you know the drill by now and goat cheese is one of the lower cholesterol and lower fat cheeses. Again, throw some of that lemony grilled chicken on if you like and you’re all done. Honestly, it takes only minutes or trust me I wouldn’t do it.
Another quick & easy salad is coming up on the blog later this week. This one has pomegranates and if you make the dressing ahead of time (which is SO worth it), it’s one of the best salads you’ll ever have! So come back and check in soon on this salad series. See you on the light side!