Let’s Diet-You go First or Hot Springs Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Let’s diet.
You go first.

In an effort to increase health (which includes weight loss), I’ve been on a kick to include more vegetables in our diet, and have been eating a lot of stir-fries, etc.  While we like Thai food a lot, I had a craving for something like that, but with more Mediterranean flavors….   Read that olive oil, lemon, basil, garlic and so on. 

Yesterday, we had a huge old frittata for breakfast, trying to use up a bunch of eggs before our delivery arrives on Monday and we then have more eggs than at Easter.  Lots of vegetables (and a tiny slice of ham) went into that, but I still had tons left.  Also, dinner promised to include meat and pasta, so lunch needed to be all vegetables for balance.

Salad?  No, I was tired of it.  I wanted real food but didn’t want rice, pasta, bread, meat or dairy for caloric purposes.   HMMMM…  I  finally just pulled stuff out of the vegetable bin, grabbed a huge saute pan, and cranked it up.   You could call this a French stir-fry, maybe?

Big yum and absolutely no guilt.  Try it with whatever YOU have.

Here’s what I did….

Hot Springs Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
serves 2

3t olive oil, divided
6 c fresh spinach
1/4 c fresh parsley leaves, whole
½ medium red onion, diced/divided
1 stalk celery, diced
½ yellow bell pepper, diced
2 small zucchini sliced about 1/3” thick
1 small yellow squash, sliced about 1/3” thick                                     
6-8 stalks asparagus, well-trimmed, cut into 1” pieces

1 clove garlic, grated or smashed and minced                     
1/4 t kosher salt               
1/8 t fresh ground pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper, optional
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4T fresh basil, chiffonade (sliced very thinly)
2T fresh lemon juice

 (Above, right:  cooking spinach, parsley leaves and red onion)

Vinaigrette: 2T each olive oil and fresh lemon juice, good pinches of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (Whisk together well in small bowl.  This makes plenty; you might want less.)

In a large skillet, warm 2t olive oil. Add spinach, parsley leaves, and half of the red onion. Saute over medium heat, until spinach has begun to wilt. Remove from pan and divide into two large, shallow bowls, pushing spinach to the edges of the bowl to form a ring.

Put other 1t olive oil into skillet and add rest of onion, celery, pepper, squashes and asparagus. Saute over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add crushed red pepper if desired. Saute another 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Spoon these veggies into the middles of the bowls so that they are surrounded by the spinach ring. At center of each bowl, make a little mound of the cut cherry tomatoes and then sprinkle entire dish with the fresh basil. Squeeze fresh lemon over all. Drizzle with dressing and eat hot, warm or at room temperature.

                Cooking the squash, asparagus, celergy, onions, garlic and peppers

Need more to eat?  Serve with some whole wheat baguette or cook a little pasta or rice to go under the “salad.”

Wine?   Chenin Blanc (or Vouvray) would do nicely…off-setting the acid from the lemon.

Dessert?  A strawberry or two.

                             The hot salad, ready for its close-up….

Spring a new song,


…….Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day…..
I went to Bergen-Belsen once.
I don’t think I’ll forget.

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