Here’s the situation:
Three days after a big family meal and you’re still eating the SAME dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner*. Ok so only my brother is eating beef tenderloin for breakfast, but still. You get the point.
These foods are probably packin on the pounds and making you feel a bit sluggish. Often, we prepare higher-fat, higher-calorie foods during the holidays; and for some reason we decide to make enough to feed a small army instead of the six people sitting down to dinner. Funny how that happens. Luckily, I have a solution: SALAD!
For dinner most Christmas Eves, we have an herb and dijon-crusted beef tenderloin with roasted red onions and a bell pepper relish, with side dishes of green beans almondine and roasted potatoes. These foods all taste incredible together, which is why we 1.) cook them every year 2.) cook in such great volume. However, after having had beef for dinner, lunch, lunch, and dinner; I had had it. Luckily, I was able to use some of the leftover meal components and recreate the flavors in a lighter salad.
Wanting to create a lower-fat dish that still had the flavors of the beef, I decided to make a vinaigrette using the ingredients that were used to flavor it: dijon and herbs. I chose the most subtle vinegar we had in the cabinet and combined it with a squirt of dijon mustard, left over fresh thyme, and salt and pepper in the bottom of my salad bowl. After mixing that all up, I tossed the greens in it to coat evenly and added leftover pepper relish and roasted onions. Without these two ingredients, I would have had to add something sweet to the dressing; but since the onions are so so syrupy-sweet after having been roasted, they balanced out the sharpness of the dressing expertly. For protein, I chose an over easy egg – quick hot and delicious. Something was missing though, and a couple broken up triscuits for crunch did just the trick.
Follow these guidelines to make your salad great:
1. Use something crunchy. I threw in broken up whole grain crackers, but many things can work. Favorites include raw veggies, nuts, and firmer beans like chickpeas.
2. Use flavor combos you love. The dijon-herb vinaigrette here was perfect because it was the same flavors and ingredients that we use for the family favorite meal.
3. Balance, balance, balance. Sweet onions, meet tangy dressing. Tender lettuce meet crispy Triscuits. See where I’m going with this??
*Remember food safety when keeping holiday leftovers around.