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Salads are a wonderful and refreshing meal option during the hot summer. Enjoying salads is a great way to increase your vegetable intake. There are plenty of excellent reasons to add some green salads to your diet; for example, they are sources of nutrients like:
· Fiber - helps to keep your bowel movements regular, lowers cholesterol levels and aids with blood sugar control.
· Vitamin K – needed to maintain healthy blood vessels, helps to heal wounds, and promotes healthy bones.
· Antioxidants – aids to protect your cells from damage caused by various sources like aging and smoking.
· Potassium – promotes healthy bones, kidneys, nerves and muscles.
[ DID YOU KNOW?! You can support local farmers and businesses by choosing local produce whenever possible. Ontario farmers grow fresh spinach, cabbage and an assortment of lettuce right here close to home! ]
Here are some great tips to make delicious salads:
· Use a variety of greens (romaine, kale, arugula, spinach, etc.) to diversify the nutritional profile of your salad.
· Be sure to include a source of protein to your salad if you make it a meal; add meat, tuna, cheese, boiled eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds or beans to make it a complete meal.
· Have a side salad with your main meal to increase your vegetable intake.
· Use healthy fats in your salad dressings; try using olive, canola, soybean or vegetable oil mixed with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper for a delicious and easy dressing.
· Great creative! Add your favourite ingredients to make the salad your own like fruit, corn, avocado, or grains like quinoa and barley.
1 lb ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork
1 tsp oil (any oil of choice)
2 tbsp taco seasoning
4 cups lettuce, chopped
1 1/3 cup tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup cheese, shredded
1 medium avocado, cubed
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/3 cup salsa
1/3 cup sour cream
1. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add ground meat. Stir fry, breaking up the pieces with a spatula, for about 7-10 minutes, until the meat is browned and moisture has evaporated.
2. Stir taco seasoning into the ground meat until well combined.
3. Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the ground meat. Toss everything together and serve.
Bacon Broccoli Salad
8 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
⅓ cup red onion, diced
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup bacon bits
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt & pepper, to taste
1. Whisk together cider vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and bacon bits. Pour the prepared dressing over and mix well.
3. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Apple Spinach Salad
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups spinach
1 large apple, cored and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
2. Add the spinach and toss gently to coat in the vinaigrette. Add the apple, feta, and walnuts and toss gently again to combine. Serve immediately.