Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Veg Recipe of the Week: Sweet Chili Tropical Salad

Now that I'm in my third trimester and back from vacation, I'm easing back into healthy eating. The second trimester was a free-for-all, and even though part of my brain knew that you could gain weight that quickly, the majority of my brain is shocked at how much weight I gained in three short months. That was my inspiration for the February Salad Challenge, and so far I've been doing pretty well. I don't eat a salad as a meal every single day, but it does happen most days, and there have even been days where I've eaten spinach at breakfast, lunch, and dinner (not by itself, of course).

In honor of my salad month, I'm going to share one of my new favorite salad combinations for this week's Veg Recipe. It all started in Kaua'i with the salad above, which I ordered on our first full day there at a burger restaurant in Poi'pu. This salad is a Nina special - I mixed and matched several salad toppings from about three different salads on their menu. And then (this is the best part), instead of the balsamic dressing I asked for on the side, I poured on the leftover sweet chili sauce that came with our onion ring appetizer. The end result: grilled mahi mahi, pineapple, shredded carrots, tomatoes, croutons, spring greens, and the magical sweet chili sauce.

Since I've been home, I've purchased a few bottles of sweet chili sauce and recreated this salad a few different ways. As long as the two main ingredients are there (pineapple + chili sauce), it always tastes delicious.

Variation 1: Side Salad with sliced red peppers, spinach, pineapple, & chili sauce:

Variation 2: Side salad above + Gardein Chicken (minus the sauce that comes with the chicken):

Joe used to love eating the chili sauce with chicken, but now that's he's vegetarian he's gotten into the habit of eating it with veggies too. Trust us and try it, it's soooo good!

And here's a little update on some of my other salads of the month:
  1. Chuck E Cheese Salad Bar: romaine, spinach, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, light ranch dressing, cottage cheese, gold fish, and jello salad (not pictured)
  2.  Crab Cake Salad from Sesame Grill on Valentine's Day: two crab cakes, spring mix, shredded carrots, one sliced tomato, delicious sweet creamy dressing (not too much - just the right amount), and little flowers and grass adornments (I don't eat those)
  3. Red Robin Southwest Salad with Fried Fish (instead of chicken): mixed greens, black beans, fried jalapenos (gave most of those to Joe), avocado, cheese & tortilla strips (took most of those off), fried fish (only ate one piece - tasted really salty to me), and salsa as dressing
  4. Sweet Chili "Chicken" Salad
  5. Sweet Potato Bean Veggie Pattie + avocado, mixed veggies, and a kale salad mix from Costco all sauteed with salsa, and then topped with more salsa and a slice of american cheese
  6. Blueberry Mac Nut Salad: spinach tossed with a spoonful of honey greek yogurt, blueberries, pineapple tidbits + the juice they came in, and crushed honey macadamia nuts. Yum!! This was unexpectedly good. I was craving a fruit salad, and decided to add spinach to make it a "real" salad. The only ingredient I wish I could have added was coconut (I went out and bought some later, so I will have to make this again)
  7. Sauteed Veggie & Hummus Salad: zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers sauteed with parsley and pepper for a few minutes, then tossed with spinach and eggplant hummus (from Trader Joe's) - so good!
  8. Spanish Rice Salad + Black Bean Enchilada - Instead of a full serving of rice, I just used a spoonful as a topping to my salad, along with spinach, salsa, and sauteed bell pepper
  9. Pineapple Chili Salad

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