Salmon Strawberry Almond Salad with a Mango Poppy Seed Dressing.

My husband and I went on our first vacation this past week, which is why it has been quiet around here. We took our children for a magical time to Disney World in Florida. In an attempt to save money on the trip, we stayed at a villa with full amenities. This way I could cook most meals. I was craving some seafood since we were surrounded by a tropical backdrop. Additionally i began to understand that a day at Disney made for one tired Momma. What could I cook that would satisfy, be quick to make, taste great, and hit the spot. This is what I came up with.

Salmon Strawberry Almond Salad with a Mango Poppy Seed Dressing.

-1 lemon -1 lb Wild-Caught Salmon fillet (If it smells fishy, do not buy) -Salt and Pepper
-1 cup chopped strawberries (or sliced if you prefer) -1/4 cup slivered almonds – 1/4 cup Mango Poppy Seed Dressing (or to taste) -1 Package Baby Spring Lettuce (Rinsed and Dried)

One: Preheat oven to 425 Degrees F. While the oven is heating up, Slice up your Strawberries. Cut Lemon in half.

Two: Place the Salmon in a baking dish, and season it with Salt and Pepper. Drizzle the Salmon with lemon juice, by squeezing one half of the Lemon at a time, over the fillet evenly with one hand. Use your opposite hand as a sieve to catch seeds. Slice the juiced Lemon and place the slices of Lemon directly onto the Salmon.

Three: Place the Salmon in the pre-heated oven and enjoy the aroma for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your fillet. You are looking for firm and flaky texture. While that is getting yummy, place your Slivered Almonds evenly on a cookie sheet with salt and pepper if desired. Half way through the Salmon baking time, place the Almonds in the oven.
salmon oven

Four: Toss the Baby Spring lettuce into a bowl. Once everything in the oven has come out, place the toasted Almond Slivers and chopped Strawberries evenly over the bed of lettuce. Use a fork to pull chunks of Salmon out and lay across the bed of green and red goodness. You may or may not want to keep the skin. It is whatever your preference is. I usually allow my family to dress the salad to their liking, so I don’t have to receive complaints and it does not get soggy with pre-dressing. Serve.

salmon salad

This salad as a meal serves 4 and as a side to soup may serve up to 6. Good crusty bread and a bit of dipping olive oil with fresh-cracked black pepper would make a great add to this dish. One soup that may pair well is corn chowder with a hint of lime.


Picking a Salad That is Right for You

salad 3
As incredible as it may seem, not all salads are created equal. Besides the endless flavor combinations, there is a big difference in healthfulness. It used to be that one could order a salad and have confidence that he or she was choosing the healthiest option on the menu. Now some salads are unhealthier than a greasy burger. We all know that low-fat dressings can also come off tasteless and gross. What is a health-conscious individual to do?

Get educated. Look at the nutritional facts of your favorite places and see how the salads really measure up. How are the contents comparing with the nutritional value? Things like sodium, sugar, excess carbohydrates, and fat can easily be hidden underneath that innocent bed of green. Speaking of green, how green is your lettuce? If you are using iceberg, you may not be getting many nutrients. Iceberg’s main nutrient provision is water. Other greens give you nutrients your body craves. The more you eat them, the more you will be truly satisfied, because your body isn’t telling you to eat more chicken for the trace amount of nutrients that might be in a vegetable. More on that later.

I am all about adding things for pleasure in proper portion. Let’s be sure that we do not fool ourselves into thinking that a cheese-laden, breadcrumb-filled, creamily-dressed, fried protein-topped salad is healthy. We are smarter than that. Do not sacrifice taste for the sake of being super healthy either. You can make small compromises in some places, while keeping favorites in smaller amounts. For example, maybe you love cesar dressing with crisp chicken and lots of parmesan. Instead of getting crisp chicken opt for grilled. Use less of the dressing in your salad. If you are at a restaurant, ask for dressing on the side, and add as you actually need. You can experiment and add veggies that could increase flavor and lessen the need for excess dressing. I like to add green peppers to some of my favorite salads. The water content of fruits and veggies hydrate the bites of salad so that it isn’t dry.

Depending on your health needs, you should target your salad to meet them. If you are low on iron, why not choose a spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, red onion, fresh mozzarella, and a light vinaigrette? If you need to watch your sodium, avoid soy-based dressings. Maybe squeeze some fruit juice over the bed of color. Fruit is sometimes forgotten, but makes a lovely salad addition. If your goal is to lessen sugar, forgo the breadcrumbs and add crunch with a few slices of crisp apple or carrots, choose a dressing lower in sugar, or even add mushrooms or avocados. The trend is the more colorful and fresh, the healthier. After all those are two great reasons to pick a salad.

You can enjoy your salad and feel good about the choices you make. Look at what you are putting into your salad. Make sure to combine the pleasure of eating flavorful greens with smart choices. You could add the other stuff, but you will feel about the same afterward as if you had something less healthy. Is the way you want to feel after this meal? One other thing to consider is if the salad is your entire meal or a side or starter. Choose a good portion based on the place it serves in your meal. Playing with flavors, trying new combinations will bring the life back into your healthful decision making. And it really is your choice. Each meal is a chance to make a good decision. Now you know how to choose the best salad for you! What are some of your favorite salad combinations?