People choose not to eat meat for a number of reasons — among them health, the environment and animal rights and welfare. If you are trying to become healthier, go meatless on Mondays. This salad recipe makes a great meatless lunch or side dish. Adding more salads and vegetables to an already healthy diet is a wonderful way to increase our own health and the health of our planet.
Salads can be some of the healthiest foods we eat. But they also can be filled with calories and loaded with fattening animal proteins. This artichoke salad is salty and sweet, perfectly balanced and very satisfying, while still relying on healthy ingredients. When paired with lentil soup, it makes for a light but filling plant based meal that’s rich and satisfying.
This salad includes crumbled goat cheese. I counsel all of my cheese-loving clients - basically everyone — to choose flavorful, pungent cheeses over milder, more mellow cheese varieties. My favorites include goat, feta, blue and Parmesan. Most people find they can eat small portions of strong flavored cheeses and still feel satisfied. More mild choices require us to eat larger portions to feel like we are really eating cheese. In this salad, the goat cheese is paired with artichoke hearts, an excellent source of filling fiber. They are incredible low in calories, but packed with good-for-you nutrition.
For this recipe, I steamed artichoke hearts and removed the stems and leaves. But you could easily use jarred artichokes packed in water or oil. If you find you only have artichokes packed in oil on hand, just be sure to drain the hearts well so not to add extra and unnecessary oil to your salad. The dressing includes olive oil, a heart healthy oil, rich in flavor and of course, fat. Even though our society has been fat-phobic for so long, it is critical that our diets include some non-artery clogging fats like olive oil. In fact, eating salad without any fat doesn’t do our body much good! We need fat to help metabolize the many nutrients found in our salad bowls.
Salads can be assembled undressed the night before and can be brought to work for a healthy lunch. Romaine lettuce does especially well, and stays crisp long after you chop it. Bring a small container of dressing on the side, and dress just before eating.
Artichoke and Pomegranate Salad
2 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 cup steamed artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
¾ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
1) Assemble the salad by mixing all ingredients together.
2) Make the salad dressing by combing all liquid ingredients. Season to taste with salt.
Dress the salad right before serving.
Megan Wolf is a New York City based Registered Dietitian at Megan Wolf Nutrition. She is active on social media, a health and wellness expert, recipe developer, public speaker and the author of Great Meals with Greens and Grains.