Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Potato Salad Flip: Healthy Potato Salad + a Quick Lunch On-the-Go

Potato Salad Flip: Mediterranean Veggie Potato Salad

An often repeated theme in my advice to eat healthy and well is to amp up the vegetables and decrease the carbs in a recipe. This decreases quickly-absorbed carbohydrates that cause fluctuations in blood sugar and lead to excess hunger. Replacing some of the carbs with fiber- and nutrient-rich vegetables also decreases total calories while making you feel full longer.

Using an oil-based dressing--such as a vinaigrette--also works with your body's hormones to help tell your brain that you are full. You do have to be careful when using oil-based dressings because, while they are healthy, they are high in calories. The trick to getting the most flavor without excess calories is to toss your salad with just enough vinaigrette to make the salad glisten, but not enough to pool in the bottom of the bowl.

Using herbs (basil is used in this recipe) helps add flavor without extra calories.

This recipe is called the "potato salad flip" because it replaces most of the potatoes with vegetables and the traditional mayonnaise-based dressing with a healthy vinaigrette. I love this recipe because it's easy to make any number of servings when you have limited time and keeps from breakfast until lunchtime at room temperature if needed. The recipe below is for a single, large serving.

Potato Salad Flip: Mediterranean Veggie Potato Salad

1 small waxy potato (red or yellow work best, avoid Russets), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 handful of broccoli florets
1 handful sliced zucchini
1 handful diced red bell pepper
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
3 large basil leaves, rolled up and sliced thinly (this is called "chiffonade") or chopped
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-1/2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
5 olives of your choice
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Microwave (or boil) cubed potato until a fork can be inserted easily, but not mushy--about 3-4 minutes.
2. Microwave broccoli, zucchini and bell pepper 3 minutes in a bowl covered with a plate.
3. Toss together potatoes and cooked vegetables and allow to cool to room temperature. Alternatively, if you need to hurry, transfer the mixture to a cool container and place into the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, olives, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
5. Serve or pack in a container with securely sealing lid and take for a quick lunch on-the-go.

Makes: 1 serving

--Make different variations by trying different vegetables, herbs and vinaigrettes.
--For additional protein, add a few cubes of smoked tofu, cheese or grilled chicken. If you do this, make sure to refrigerate the salad until shortly before ready to eat, however.

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