Salads that are supposed to constitute an entire meal have never really appealed to me. A salad just doesn’t seem substantial enough, even when it’s loaded with meat. Â It’s probably some kind of mental hang-up that I have but I am especially averse to eating meal-salads during the winter. Â Why would I want to fill myself with something cold and crunchy when I’m already freezing from head to foot? However, there is nothing like trying on bathing suits to change my mind, even about something as important as salad consumption! So, after a disastrous bathing suit shopping expedition yesterday, I have vowed to give salads another try as they are such an easy, healthy lunch option and are even relatively cheap. As I tried to think of all the salads that I had ever truly enjoyed, my mind immediately lit upon a spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette that I made last year. The warm, meaty flavorfulness of the bacon made this salad substantial enough for even the frostiest of winter days. The only problem is, of course, the bacon. Bacon is the antithesis of every dietary rule that I am trying to follow but I decided to try the same salad using strips of lean turkey meat in place of bacon. The results were surprisingly tasty and I was surprised at how much smoky flavor the turkey added. This salad also has the benefit of being extremely easy and quick to prepare. Perfect for a healthy, filling lunch that can be fixed in minutes.
Turkey and Spinach Salad with Warm Citrus Vinaigrette
As you can see from the pictures, I used a Spring salad mix that included baby spinach and other lettuces, but I think this would taste fantastic with just baby spinach. Also, a sprinkling of roasted almonds or cashews would be a great addition to this salad, if you happen to have some on hand.
1 large handful baby spinach or a mixed greens
1 medium sized orange
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 slices smoked deli turkey, cut into thin strips
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly pepper and kosher salt to taste
1. Place the greens in the bowl you are going to eat from. Cut the orange in half and peel half of it. Cut the peeled half of the orange into 1-inch chunks and arrange these on top of the lettuce. Extract the juice form the second half of the orange and set the juice aside for use in step 3.
2. Heat the oil in a small cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the strips of turkey to the pan and cook, turning a few times, until the turkey is browned on both sides. Remove the turkey form the pan and lay it on top of the lettuce and orange slices.
3. Add the juice, vinegar and honey to the pan and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquids have thickened and reduced a little bit. Drizzle the warm dressing over the salad and season the salad with pepper and salt. Toss everything gently to combine and eat immediately while the turkey and dressing are still warm.
I would love to have some other filling, low-calorie lunch ideas so please share in the comments or email me with your favorite salad or light lunch recipes!