Friday, June 19, 2009

Strawberry and Avocado Salad: An Exercise in CAPITAL LETTERS and Fat Reduction

I’m pretty ambivalent about salads. They’re okay, but I’d order almost anything else before paying for a staid pile of lackluster leafy greens. Still, I like strawberries. And I like avocado. And I like pecans. And this dressing sounded tasty. So I thought I’d give AllRecipes’ Strawberry and Avocado Salad a try.

Sounds neato, right? I thought so. However, there was one minor issue: namely, 609 calories and FIFTY-POINT-SEVEN grams of fat per serving. I realize numbers higher than eleven aren’t usually spelled out. I wanted some extra emphasis there.

Now, healthy oils are dandy, but to reiterate: FIFTY-POINT-SEVEN grams of fat? In a freakin’ salad? You gotta be kidding me. This wasn’t in the realm of possibility. In fact, I couldn’t even see the realm of possibility from where I read the recipe. That’s how far away it was.

But shucks, I still wanted the salad. Strawberries and avocado? C’mon. It’s like Christmas in summer. So, I made some changes. I dropped 75% of the pecans, 50% of the avocado, and added 50% more salad greens.

The result was three main course salads for … wait for it … 222 calories and FIFTEEN-POINT-THREE grams of fat. Those three dinky alterations meant 387 lost calories and THIRTY-FIVE-POINT-SEVEN lost grams of fat. And? If you don’t use all the dressing (we didn’t), the numbers drop even lower than that.

It still tasted great, to boot. No one flavor was overwhelming, we avoided mushiness, and divided among three plates, the sweetness was just right. The Husband-Elect and I ate it with a lovely bean concoction and a slice of last week’s Buttermilk-Vanilla Pound Cake. HEAVEN.

With that said, hope y’all have a lovely weekend. It’s been a wet June - great for food photos, bad for people. New Yorkers, stay dry!

P.S. Update on Monday’s post! We got our feet wet at the farmer’s market and hauled back some ground beef, fancy bacon, a loaf o’ whole wheat bread, and a dozen eggs. So far, the bread was quite tasty and the egg … well, it wasn’t just an egg. It was AN EGG. It asserted itself in my mouth, and I appreciate that. Next stop: Bacon City.

Strawberry and Avocado Salad
Makes 3 main dishes or 4 sides
Adapted from AllRecipes.

2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups torn salad greens (I used romaine. – Kris)
½ small avocado (about 2 ounces) - peeled, pitted and sliced into 1” pieces
10 strawberries, sliced
1/8 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts or almonds)

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, olive oil, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk it all together and reserve 2 tablespoons dressing in a teacup. Add salad greens to bowl. Toss gently with dressing. Place avocado and strawberries on top of salad. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of dressing. Top with pecans. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
Three servings: 222 calories, 15.3 g fat, $1.02
Four servings: 167 calories, 11.5 g fat, $0.76

2 tablespoons white sugar: 93 calories, 0 g fat, $0.04
2 tablespoons olive oil: 237 calories, 27 g fat, $0.24
4 teaspoons honey: 85 calories, 0 g fat, $0.13
1 tablespoon cider vinegar: 3 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
1 teaspoon lemon juice: 2 calories, 0 g fat, $0.11
3 cups torn salad greens (romaine): 24 calories, 0.4 g fat, $0.45
½ avocado (about 2 ounces) - peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1-inch pieces: 91 calories, 8.3 g fat $0.75
10 strawberries, sliced: 38 calories, 0.4 g fat, $1.00
1/8 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts or almonds): 94 calories, 9.8 g fat, $0.31
TOTAL: 667 calories, 45.9 g fat, $3.05
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 222 calories, 15.3 g fat, $1.02
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 167 calories, 11.5 g fat, $0.76

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