Sundays are the days that my husband and I go out shopping for groceries for the week. We usually go around lunchtime, which gives us the opportunity to grab a bite to eat at the cafe in Wegmans before we shop for food (great pro tip: never shop hungry!). The past couple of weeks, I’ve been pleased to find healthier options on their hot bars. It fills me up, and I’m not eating the same old salad every week.
I try not to stare too longingly at my husband’s plate. Today, it was a cheese-and-rice ball that’s deep-fried, an egg roll, vegetable fried rice, bourbon chicken, and fruit. Thankfully, I managed to find some stuff that was delicious, too: Spicy Hunan mushrooms (great if you have blocked sinuses!), cheesy cauliflower bake (actually fairly okay calories-wise, which made me happy, because I love cheese), dashi beef stir-fry, and some fruit. My husband’s lucky that he won’t gain weight simply by looking at something caloric. Now, if he ate this stuff daily, I’d worry, but I do keep weeknight food fairly healthy for both of us.
After having our fill, we set off with our grocery list. Temptation is kept at bay when we do this — I’m much less likely to try to sneak in unhealthy snacks when I’ve got a freshly-full stomach. For this week’s menu, I had a craving for something we’ve made in the past: Banh-Mi Burgers. They’re great sandwiches in and of themselves, and with a couple of modifications, they aren’t terrible. In particular, we don’t use any sugar, and in the burgers themselves, we can easily scale back the oil without causing them to be dry. On top of that, we use something like Sandwich Thins to cut back on the amount of bread we’re ingesting. I have to avoid anything with oats and malted barley, but anything that is 100% whole wheat tends to pass that requirement for me.
That left me trying to figure out what to do to for a side dish. We’ve slacked a bit on the salad front, so what better way to get ourselves back into the habit than by adding one next to the banh-mi burgers?
SkinnyMs is a website that I’ve been following for awhile. The site is full of healthy yet delicious foods that are low on calories while still remaining high on flavor. So when I found the recipe for Asian Salad with Crispy Chicken, I trusted it.
Now, we already had a protein, so there was no need to add the chicken. The other modifications I made were minor at best, primarily upping the cabbage.
My version of the recipe is a whopping 42 calories, and it’s chock-full of vitamins and nutrients. And given that it’s all essentially “roughage,” it goes a long way toward filling you up! This recipe is truly a winner, even without the chicken.
Inspired by Asian Salad with Crispy Chicken by SkinnyMs
- 2 tablespoons honey (vegans can use agave nectar or maple syrup)
- 2 teaspoons spicy mustard
- 1 tablespoon tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 4 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups Romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- Combine honey, mustard, tamari, mirin, and lemon juice in small bowl or jar. Stir or shake until combined. Set aside.
- Toss together cabbage, lettuce, and carrot in a large bowl.
- When you're ready to eat the salad, dress it. If, like my husband and I, you plan to eat this over a few days and not in a single evening, you should dress only as much as you plan to eat; adding the dressing to the salad before storing it for a bit can actually make it a bit soggy! So what I usually do is put all of the salad materials in a large bowl. To store it, I add a lightly damp paper towel on top of the salad materials, then cover it tightly. When we're ready to eat, we dress however much we plan to eat. This keeps our salads crisp and delicious without having to go through the trouble of making them every night!