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Low carb salads

Salads can be a dieter’s dream. These low-carb salad recipes are lush with flavor, teeming with a myriad of inviting textures, and deliciously satisfying.

Spicy walnut and citrus salad with white wine vinaigrette

Serves 4A refreshingly tasty spring salad that combines juicy citrus, crunchy walnuts, and crisp red onions. Lavender, if available, lends a light floral flavor to the vinaigrette but the dressing is equally delicious without it.

1 small red onion, halved, sliced very thin
1 head of butter lettuce, torn
2 ripe oranges, segmented*
1 white or ruby red grapefruit, segmented*

1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch each of minced rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper
1/2 cup raw walnut halves, shelled

2 tablespoons citrus juice, reserved from segmenting orange and grapefruit
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of lavender buds (optional)
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced chives

1. Place onion in a bowl of ice water while preparing the rest of the salad. Divide butter lettuce among four salad bowls.

2. Arrange orange and grapefruit segments evenly over greens. In a small nonstick skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add rosemary, lavender, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add walnuts and toss to coat with infused olive oil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Transfer to a paper towel to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Drain red onions, pat dry, and divide among salads. Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with walnuts.

Nutritional analysis
Per salad: 300 calories, 225 calories from fat, 25g of fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15g carbs, 4g fiber, 5g protein, 235mg sodium, 53mg calcium, 1mg iron

*To segment citrus, use a sharp knife to slice off the very ends, just removing the peel and white pith. Set the fruit on a sliced end and use the knife to slice the peel from the flesh, following the shape of the fruit, removing the white pith, leaving as much of the flesh as possible. Lay citrus on the cutting board or in the palm of your hand and use the knife to cut the segments by slicing in between the segment membranes to the center of the citrus. You will be left with a handful of juicy membranes, which you can squeeze into a bowl to make a salad dressing or reserve for another use.

Ginger marmalade chicken breast salad

Serves 4

Juicy chunks of chicken coated with sweet marmalade and mounded on a bed of fresh mixed greens, matchsticks of red bell pepper, and crisp green onions make a light and lovely luncheon dish. Cooked turkey breast can be substituted for the chicken.

4 small cooked skinless chicken breasts, finely diced
5 tablespoons low-carb or low-calorie orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh gingerroot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro

8 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (white and green parts)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

In a large bowl, combine chicken, marmalade, ginger, mustard, and cilantro. Divide greens among four chilled salad bowls. In a small bowl, toss bell pepper, green onions, and red wine vinegar. Evenly divide and mound chicken on top of the salad greens. Garnish with bell pepper and green onions. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Nutritional analysis
Per salad: 270 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4g fat, 96mg cholesterol, 15g carbs, 3g fiber, 190mg sodium, 73mg calcium, 3g iron.

Raspberry spinach salad with goat cheese and pine nuts

Serves 4

Flavors of spring, plump raspberries, baby spinach, tangy goat cheese, and crunchy pine nuts make this a quintessential side salad or light main meal on a bright and sunny day. For a change, add blueberries and substitute toasted slivered almonds for the pine nuts.

4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, patted dry
1 cup fresh ripe raspberries
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley, marjoram, or savory
2 (4-ounces each) goat cheese logs, sliced
Freshly finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Toss spinach with raspberries and divide among four chilled salad plates. Mix pine nuts and fresh herbs on a small plate. Press goat cheese slices, one at a time, in the pine nut herb mixture. Arrange on the salads and season with black pepper. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and drizzle on salads right before serving.

Nutritional analysis
Per salad: 333 calories, 243 calories from fat, 27g fat, 26mg cholesterol, 10g carbs, 5g fiber, 14g protein, 265mg sodium, 146mg calcium, 3.5mg iron

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