A salad to fill you with flavor

Associated PressJuly 31, 2013 

This is not only refreshing but also filling, perfect for a hot summer day.

COURTESY ASSOCIATED PRESS

Having salad for dinner may sound boring, but it doesn't have to be.

It's easy to toss together a delicious (and nutritious) salad that goes way beyond the lettuce-tomato-cucumber routine that becomes all too tiresome all too quickly.

For our anything-but-boring salad, we started with the base. Hold the romaine and iceberg; we wanted something with a bit more interest. Not wanting to give up on greens altogether, we opted for a mixture of arugula and Swiss chard. Together, they make for a fantastic combination of peppery and colorful leafy greens.

To go on the greens, we needed something zippy. Something with pizazz. Stone fruit packs a punch of flavor and brightness. We used nectarines, but plums or peaches would work just as well.

Rounding out the salad, we added thinly sliced cucumber and celery for crispness. We really didn't want to go the crouton route, but we still wanted some crunch. Nuts are another option, but we went with roasted chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans). They pack a whole lot of fiber and protein and are easy to throw together. You just coat them in olive oil, add some seasonings, and toss them in the oven.

To add just a little bit more oomph to your salad, top the whole thing off with one of the protein suggestions. Whichever you choose, you've got a flavor-packed salad that'll keep you from getting bored.

What you need:

  • Two 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried with paper towels.

  • Five tablespoons olive oil, divided.

  • One teaspoon curry powder, Old Bay or Cajun seasoning blend.

  • Salt and ground black pepper.

  • Four tablespoons rice vinegar.

  • Four teaspoons brown sugar.

  • Two teaspoons Dijon mustard.

  • One bunch Swiss chard, chopped.

  • 5-ounce package baby arugula.

  • One seedless cucumber, thinly sliced.

  • Four stalks celery, thinly sliced.

  • Three nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced.

    Protein suggestions:

  • Soft-boiled or poached eggs.

  • Sliced cooked chicken breast.

  • Cooked shrimp.

  • Lightly seared and thinly sliced steak.

  • Marinated tofu or seitan.

  • Feta or halloumi (Greek grilling) cheese.

    Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

    In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the seasoning of choice, then a bit of salt and black pepper, as needed. Toss well to coat evenly, then spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, then set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining four tablespoons of olive oil, the rice vinegar, brown sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, mix together the Swiss chard, arugula, cucumber, celery and nectarines. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, then toss gently to coat. Divide between four serving plates. Top with the roasted chickpeas and your choice of protein.

    Nutrition information per serving: 470 calories; 170 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 19 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 63 g carbohydrate; 13 g fiber; 19 g sugar; 15 g protein; 380 mg sodium.

    Start to finish: 45 minutes. Servings: Four entree-size salads.

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