Although sometimes, a salad is just what you fancy; they’re a quick and easy way to prepare and enjoy fresh, healthy ingredients. Salads don’t have to be just lettuce, tomato and cucumber – there’s a whole world of unique flavours and dressings you can use with a variety of great ingredients ranging from roasted vegetables to fresh fruit to couscous to olives.
If you aren’t sure what you can use while following an OPTIFAST weight loss plan, we’ve created four delicious salad recipes you can use for one of your low-calorie meals.
1. Classic Caesar Salad
A Caesar salad is a solid choice for many of us. With crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, juicy grilled chicken and shavings of parmesan cheese, it makes a tasty main course with no need for any extra protein or carbs on your plate.
Simply by using low-fat dressing, grilled chicken and making your own croutons, you can lower the calorie count of your Caesar salad to stay on track to your weight loss goals.
- 225g lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 30g fresh peas, washed
- 40g cucumber, sliced
- 120g lean chicken breast, chargrilled
- 1 slice wholemeal bread, toasted and sliced into small square ‘croutons’
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp low-fat Caesar salad dressing
- Start by removing any skin from the chicken breast. Place the chicken on a baking tray and chargrill over high heat for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking, wash the lettuce leaves and blot dry with a kitchen towel. Then, roughly chop and place into a large bowl.
- Next, wash and shell the fresh peas, peel and grate the carrot, and slice the cucumber, and add them to the bowl of lettuce.
- Toast the bread and cut into small squares to create your croutons.
- Once the chicken is cooked, cut into thin slices and place it in the bowl along with the lettuce, peas, carrot and cucumber slices.
- Lastly, add the croutons and grated parmesan cheese to the bowl and gently toss to mix everything together.
- Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and drizzle over the Caesar dressing.
Nutritional Content Per Serving (Recipe Makes 1 Serving):
Energy: 1,569 KJ (375 calories)
Total Sugars: 12g
Total Fats: 10.2g
Saturated Fat: 2.3g
2. Niçoise Salad
The classic Niçoise salad features tuna, hard-boiled eggs, baby new potatoes, olives and juicy cherry tomatoes, creating a burst of flavour with every forkful. It’s a great option for a lunch dish or even an evening meal.
The tuna and eggs provide a good source of protein, while the potatoes supply a source of complex carbohydrates, making this salad a meal that can help to keep you feeling full longer.
- 12 small new potatoes, washed and halved
- 150g baby spinach, washed and blotted dry
- 200g green beans, washed, trimmed and sliced into halves
- 150g cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
- 400g tuna in spring water, drained and flaked
- 8 pitted black olives, halved
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, washed and finely chopped
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 55g low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- First, make the salad dressing. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice, and set aside.
- Next, wash and halve the new potatoes and place in a large saucepan. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Boil for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain and place into a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate pan, hard-boil four eggs. When done, submerge the eggs into a bowl of ice-cold water to cool. Once the eggs are cool, peel, cut into quarters and set aside.
- Meanwhile, wash, trim and slice the green beans and place in a medium-sized saucepan. Steam for 2-3 minutes or until just lightly cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the beans to slightly cool, then transfer them to the bowl of potatoes and set aside.
- While the beans are cooling, wash the cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves. Cut the tomatoes into halves and blot dry the spinach leaves and add them to the bowl of green beans and potatoes.
- Lastly, drain and flake the tuna and add to the salad mixture, then lightly toss to combine all the ingredients.
- Portion the salad into six bowls and top each with the halved olives, chopped basil and hard-boiled eggs.
- Lightly drizzle the salad dressing over the salads and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Nutritional Content Per Serving (Recipe Makes 6 Servings):
Energy: 1,326 KJ (317 kcal)
Total Sugars: 5.3g
Total Fats: 9.2g
Saturated Fat: 2.2g
3. Pumpkin & Courgette Couscous Salad
This salad is not just your ordinary lettuce and tomato salad – this salad uses slightly different ingredients that can be eaten warm or cold. It makes an ideal low-calorie lunch or dinner that feels wonderfully hearty, thanks to the couscous and roasted vegetables.
- 150g instant couscous
- 235ml boiling water
- 500g baby spinach leaves, washed and blotted dry
- 30g pumpkin, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 30g courgette, washed and cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 6 macadamia nuts, chopped
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Wash and slice the courgette and peel and dice the pumpkin into cubes. Spray a baking tray with low-calorie cooking oil and place the vegetables on it. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the vegetables are roasting, add the dried couscous to a large bowl and carefully pour in the boiling water. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- Once the couscous has puffed up and absorbed all of the water, gently fluff with a fork and add the roasted vegetables and chopped macadamia nuts. Lightly stir to combine.
- To make the dressing, combine the lime juice and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl, then add it to the couscous mixture and stir to mix through. Portion into two bowls and serve.
Nutritional Content Per Serving (Recipe Makes 2 Servings):
Energy: 1,648 KJ (394 kcal)
Total Sugars: 2.3g
Total Fats: 5.3g
Saturated Fat: 0.7g
4. Spinach, Orange & Strawberry Salad with Honey & Lime Dressing
This salad of fresh, juicy orange segments and sweet strawberries paired with baby spinach leaves and cos lettuce, then finished with a sweet yet tangy honey and lime dressing makes a great starter dish or a light summery lunch.
- 200g baby spinach, washed and blotted dry
- 200g cos lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
- 250g strawberries, washed, stems removed and sliced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- Peel the oranges and cut into segments, and wash, destem and slice the strawberries into halves. Set both aside.
- Wash the spinach and cos lettuce, then place in a kitchen towel and gently squeeze out the excess water. Shred the lettuce and toss with the spinach in a large mixing bowl.
- To make the dressing, mix together the cumin, honey and lime juice in a small bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad leaves and top with the sliced fresh fruit.
Nutritional Content Per Serving (Recipe Makes 4 Servings):
Energy: 346 KJ (82.8 kcal)
Total Sugars: 11.4g
Total Fats: 0.7g
Saturated Fat: 0.08g
If you’re looking for creative ways to use OPTIFAST products in your meals, these chocolate mint dessert pots are a seriously tasty place to start: