As much as I wish I could say that I’m a health nut, it just isn’t the truth. I blame part of it on growing up with a should-have-been-a-chef father who was always whipping up something absolutely incredible that generally included rich flavors: garlic, spices, great meats, savory cheeses, etc. Now that I work in the wine industry, my foodie levels have only been heightened by pushing myself to think about pairings and learning more about what foods bring out certain characteristics in wines and vice versa. However, when I started running a LOT earlier this year (more than ever before in my life), I started to learn a few things about my body. Mainly that I absolutely could not continue eating anything and everything I ever wanted.
The issue for me is that it’s really hard to find healthy food that is flavored well and that I really, truly crave. I need salads that are way more interesting than the pre-made quinoa and kale station at Whole Foods during lunch to keep me going or else I wind up at the ridiculous taco joint down the street for the best fish tacos on the planet, or god forbid, CHIPOTLE, which is also conveniently within walking distance to the office. Additionally, I took a hard look at my bank account a few weeks ago and it’s just sad how much money goes to eating lunch out almost every day of the week. It’s no secret that packing a lunch saves you money, but it was a truth I chose to ignore for quite a while.
Enter Salad Wars which is mainly a great big experiment and challenge to find the best, most convenient and healthy salads out there. In my quest, I have found a few and to my disbelief, I’m actually excited for them by lunch or dinner – a feat I never thought possible ;-) Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few of those recipes and hope to inspire you to join me on the quest for good health.
#1 is my go-to Spinach Salad… check out the recipe below!
Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 serving
2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 handful of cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt (to taste)
a dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese
If you’re taking this for lunch and would like to prep it the night before, I usually mix the spinach, pine nuts, parmesan and a little salt in a travel container. I slice the avocado and tomatoes just before eating to keep things fresh :-)
This salad could not be simpler, which I love. No dressing at all (including EVO) is always better than dressing, but cutting out pre-mixed, store bought dressing also cuts out major calories so I feel ok with a little drizzle of olive oil. With a tiny bit of salt and just a slight dusting of cheese, I’ve found that I don’t miss the pre-mixed dressing at all and I feel fulfilled and re-energized when I’m done eating instead of slipping into total food-coma… We’ve all been there after lunch. You know what I’m talking about.