Spring means FRESH VEGETABLES! We are growing bored of always using lettuce, so we want to share some options that do not require the leafy vegetable.  Fresh vegetables are a great way to get your vitamins and minerals from a natural source with the added bonus of a low calorie food option.  The following salads make a great option for a meal itself (have you heard of Meatless Monday) or add to a grilled piece of lean protein as a bright and delicious side dish.  Limit the amount of dressing you use to keep these as healthy, low calorie options. Enjoy!

TOMATO, CUCUMBER, AVOCADO SALAD

PREP TIME: 12 MINS

TOTAL TIME:12 MINS

SERVES: 2 (AS A MEAL);  4 (AS A SIDE)

NOTE: YOU CAN ADD OTHER VEGETABLES TO THIS SALAD OR EVEN GRILLED CHICKEN OR SHRIMP.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ cups of chopped cherry tomatoes (multi-color is not required, but is looks amazing)
  • 1 cucumber – peeled and seeded then diced
  • 1 avocado – diced
  • 4 oz feta cheese – cubed (optional)
  • 2 tbs minced red onion
  • 1 handful parsley – minced – about 2 tbs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • ¼ to ½ tsp of fresh ground pepper (more to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Chop tomatoes into a medium dice. If using cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Add to a bowl.
  2. Peel and seed one cucumber and dice. Add to bowl
  3. Remove pit, dice avocado and using a spoon scoop out the avocado from the peel. Add to bowl.
  4. Cube feta and add to bowl. (optional)
  5. Add minced red onion and minced parsley to bowl.
  6. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and black pepper – pour over salad.
  7. Toss gently so the feta and avocado don’t break up. Serve immediately.
  8. If refrigerating – keep the avocado aside and add before serving.

From: http://greenvalleykitchen.com/tomato-cucumber-avocado-salad/

ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD WITH SWEET CORN & AVOCADO

YIELD: SERVES 4-6

TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 1 ear cooked sweet corn
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 medium ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil and lime juice together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Trim the ends of the zucchini and yellow squash. With a vegetable peeler, shave lengthwise into long, wide strips about 1/16 inch thick. When you get to the center of the zucchini, turn the squash over and slice from the other side until you get to the center again.
  3. You can also use a spiralizer to get ribbons or strings.
  4. Put the zucchini and yellow squash ribbons in a large bowl. Cut the sweet corn kernels off of the cob, cutting close to the cob. Discard cobs. Add sweet corn, cilantro, red onion, and avocado slices to the squash ribbons. Pour olive oil and lime dressing over salad and toss until coated.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/zucchini-ribbon-salad-with-sweet-corn-avocado/