Are you on a low-carb, no-rice diet? Trying to eat healthy? Or, are you simply craving for something light for lunch or dinner? Regardless of your reason, a good alternative to "full" meals (a.k.a. rice meals) is to replace your grains with salad. You can eat as much lettuce as you like without adding much calories to your daily count. Just remember not to drown your leaves in dressing and you'll be fine. Here are a few salad ideas that are definitely not boring:
Prawn Salad with Pesto Dressing. Butterfly your prawns (about 2-3 pieces per serving), season with salt and pepper and grill. Set aside and prepare your pesto dressing. Combine 3 teaspoons each of plain yogurt and olive oil and add 2 teaspoons of pesto (bottled or homemade) and mix well. Assemble your lettuce and other preferred veggies on a plate and top with the three butterflied prawns. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of pesto dressing and serve.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Reduction and Feta. Grill yellow and red peppers, eggplant, onions and mushrooms and set aside. Make balsamic reduction by simmering 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar until reduced and thick. Drizzle over grilled vegetables and add crumbled feta right before serving.
Italian Salad. Mix lettuce with bits of mozzarella and either fresh or sundried tomatoes (both available in delis and larger supermarkets). Add a handful of basil leaves and drizzle top with olive oil and lemon.
Brie Salad with Honey Vinaigrette. Cut up pieces of brie, a soft cow’s cheese available in delis and larger supermarkets, and set aside. Make honey vinaigrette dressing with 3 teaspoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, thyme and a teaspoon of honey. Add a squeeze of lemon if you wish. Add pieces of brie and a handful of walnuts and grapes to your salad. Drizzle with honey vinaigrette and serve.
Meat Lovers Salad. Can't live without your meat? Grill a few pieces of lean beef strips marinated in Korean or Japanese barbecue marinade and set aside. For dressing, combine 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 2 teaspoons Japanese mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce and 2 teaspoons of the barbecue marinade. Add a squeeze of lime if you wish. Top salad leaves with beef strips and drizzle with dressing. Finish off with toasted sesame seeds.
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Erica Paredes has been working in the publishing industry for almost a decade as a fashion and beauty editor, newspaper columnist, stylist and make-up artist. Nowadays she juggles her time between food and fashion, beauty and travel plus mommy duties to her 8 year old daughter.