Skinny Zesty Salad

Skinny Zesty Sala1

 

After hogging lots and lots of sweets and fried stuff during 5 days of festivities in the past week, believe it or not, but my digestive system needed a break. So I am doing a cleanse/detox for few days.

I made this skinny salad for lunch one day and have fallen in love with it since then. It is so versatile, protein-packed and healthy even for people with diet restrictions. Yes! It is suitable for all the vegetarians and vegans out there! A complete meal in itself.

Add any or all of the ingredients mentioned below or whatever you have in your refrigerator. Don’t like uncooked Paneer/tofu? Don’t worry! You can grill it with a bit of olive oil and some seasoning before adding it to your salad or skip it. I once made this with just apple, pear, pomegranate and it was still lip-smacking!

So do your body a favor, give yourself a break from cooking and make this hearty salad! 🙂

Skinny Zesty Sala2

Skinny Zesty Salad

Serves: 2 as a side and 1 as a main-course

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 200 gm Paneer/extra-firm tofu, cut into 2 inch-long thin strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into semicircles
  • 1 small apple, thin slices
  • 4 Tbsp black olives
  • Bunch of lettuce
  • few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

For dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan on stove and add 1/2 Tbsp oil to it. Add garlic and broccoli florets. Stir fry till cooked, approximately for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for dressing.
  3. In a medium bowl, add stir-fried garlic and broccoli florets. To this, add prepared paneer/tofu, bell pepper, zucchini, apple and black olives. Pour dressing over it and toss nicely.
  4. In a salad serving bowl, arrange lettuce at the bottom. Add salad on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately*.

*If serving later, refrigerate the salad and add apple just before serving.

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Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous1

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

This salad is just that. Simple yet flavorful. Hearty yet sophisticated. Perfect lunch/dinner for those lazy, laid back days. Even better when you have only 15-20 minutes to put up a dinner and have scarce produce in your pantry. You just need couscous and throw in as many or as less veggies you have and you’re all set!

You know I’m a sucker for those lazy, quick recipes and this one here ticks all the boxes for me. And ignore my reflection in a spoon in a pic below.. Thank you! 😛

Mediterranean Couscous2

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous (I used Barilla Cous Cous)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped or 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sliced black olives (If using canned, drain and wash)
  • 2 Tbsp grated cottage cheese (can be substituted with Feta)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

For dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Make couscous according to the package instruction. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, cottage cheese and cilantro.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for dressing. Season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the couscous salad and toss until well combined. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

*This salad can be made in advance and will keep fresh in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*You can make this salad vegan by replacing cottage cheese with tofu or simply omit it.

Skinny Zucchini Boats

Skinny Zucchini Boats5

My favorite vegetable of all-time! Such a versatile little thing… So much to create and experiment with! It was about time to get more creative and make these beautiful zucchini boats… Stuffed… Stuffed with cottage cheese filling and freshly prepared Marinara sauce! Oh yeah… you’re in for a treat!

Like I always say.. very easy and quick to prepare and perfect as a side or main course!

There are two parts to this dish – 1> filling and 2>fresh marinara sauce

Shucking the zucchini is lots of fun! If using medium sized zucchini then you can part them in middle and then divide them in half, lengthwise. If using smaller zucchinis then just divide them lengthwise. After this zucchinis are hollowed-out and stuffed with the prepared filling and topped with Marinara sauce. All the elements here are raw so it all comes together in no time! Bake them and they are ready to be gobbled!

Eat as many as you want as they are pretty light and low-cal! 😉Skinny Zucchini Boats1Skinny Zucchini Boats2

Skinny Zucchini Boats3Skinny Zucchini Boats4

Skinny Zucchini Boats

Yields: 8 zucchini boats | Serves: 2 for lunch/dinner and 4 as side-dish

Ingredients:

Marinara Sauce:

  • 4-5 tomatoes, blanched, skin peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Skinny Zucchini Boats:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, halved and cut lengthwise
  • 100 gm cottage cheese, grated
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, diced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

For Marinara sauce: 

  • In a small pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic. Be careful not to burn.
  • Add tomatoes, bay leaf, chili flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and mash tomatoes nicely. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

For Skinny Zucchini Boats:

  • Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F. After cutting zucchini in half lengthwise, use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick. Discard the flesh or use it in your next veggie recipe.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cottage cheese, red bell pepper, parsley, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Place scooped out side up on the baking sheet and season it with salt and pepper. With spoon, fill each hollowed-out zucchini with about 2 Tbsp of cottage cheese stuffing and press firmly. Top it generously with marinara sauce.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or till zucchini is cooked through. Serve hot!

*Cheese-lovers don’t be disappointed! ~ Top zucchini boats with mix of grated Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese before baking. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or till cheese melts completely.
*Basil-lovers can replace parsley with basil leaves, both in filling and Marinara sauce.