Our garden is full of fresh romaine lettuce. I grew up eating good old iceberg lettuce that could barely be seen in my salad bowl because it was so covered with croutons, cheese and dressing. But, hey, it was a salad and therefore healthy right?
Nope. Just because it's called a "salad" certainly doesn't mean it's good for you or low in calories. While iceberg lettuce is still good for you and has some good nutrients, romaine has double and in some cases triple or more the amount of nutrients and vitamins. This link shows the comparison. A salad piled with croutons and loads of cheese and full-fat dressings can add up in calories and sugar very fast.
My salads have really grown up, along with me.
I'll admit it took me a little bit to get used to the fresh, green taste of romaine and other green leaf lettuces. Now that I've come to love the taste, and because I know that the greener it is the better it is, iceberg isn't even on my radar. And the romaine is coming straight from my garden which means it's as good as it gets!
Everyone has their own version of this sweet strawberry salad, and this is the one I came up with. Of course it's best when you use in-season strawberries (I eat those things like candy!). I just made it over the weekend for a cookout. You can definitely make your own dressing, but this bottled version was good enough that I'd use it again next time I make this!
Strawberry Romaine Salad
7 c. fresh romaine lettuce
1 pint of fresh strawberries, washed, cored and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 c. red onion, diced
1/2 c. crumbled low-fat feta cheese
2 small cucumbers, sliced
1 c. shaved almonds
1/2 bottle Annies low-fat raspberry vinaigrette
1. Wash and chop the romaine and add to a large bowl. Add in all of the remaining ingredients and toss. Serve with extra feta and vinaigerette on the side.
And about the garden romaine...some people are really turned off by the dirt and bugs that are involved with garden lettuce. This is what I do to solve that problem:
1. Cut the romaine with a kitchen shears at the top of the stem so you don't have a stem-filled salad. Put the whole works in a large bowl and cover with cold water and 2 t. of salt.
2. Let the lettuce sit in the water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and do it over again.
3. If the drained water is still showing dirt, repeat until it's clean.
4. The best way I know to dry the soggy lettuce leaves is one of these:
It's a salad spinner and I love them! You just put in a load of lettuce and spin several times. Open it up and just like that it's dry. I got mine from a dollar store for $4.00.
Iceberg or leafy romaine? Maybe spinach? What's your favorite salad green choice?