Makes 6 servings: 4 cups each
When I was back in Ohio for Christmas, my sister, Rebecca, handed me a recipe that she requested I personally make-over for her. Since diabetes runs in our family, she was concerned about the calories—especially the sugar calories—in the salad. (It can always be surprising how many hidden calories can be found in a seemingly healthful salad!) Her recipe is an adapted version of the popular Gruner Salad from Good’s Wine Cellar Restaurant. If you want to try the true, decadent original, check it out if ever in Kewanee, Illinois. But if you’d like to try my delightful version, here you go. I promise it’ll spectacularly please all of your tastebuds!
Calories Saved: 180
3/4 cup corn oil (or oil of choice)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar*
2 tablespoons naturally-brewed soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
1 teaspoon freshly grated gingerroot, or to taste
1/4 cup sliced natural almonds
3 tablespoons mixture of black and white sesame seeds
1 small or 1/2 large head Napa cabbage, chopped or shredded (about 24 cups)
4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- For Dressing: Stir together the corn oil, cider vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat for 1 minute. Let cool in the refrigerator.
- For Topping: Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and cook while stirring until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the sesame seeds to the skillet and cook while stirring until the white sesame seeds are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl.
- For Salad: Just before serving, toss the cabbage with the cool dressing–or serve the dressing on the side. Sprinkle with the scallions, sesame seeds, and almonds, and serve.
Per serving: 410 calories, 32g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 340mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 23g sugars, 5g protein
*If you prefer, use 12 packets stevia or other naturally-derived sweetener in place of the sugar to cut sugar (carbohydrate) calories further. You don’t need to cook this dressing when you make it with stevia. Just whisk all dressing ingredients together. That’s it!
Per serving (using stevia): 340 calories, 32g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 11g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 5g protein
The “Before” Recipe
submitted by Rebecca N, my sister (Illinois)
recipe adapted from original Gruner Salad from Good’s Wine Cellar Restaurant
Makes 6 servings: 4 cups each
1 cup corn oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles (omit seasoning packet)
1 small or 1/2 large head Napa cabbage, chopped (about 24 cups)
1 scallion (green onion), chopped
- For Dressing: Stir together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat for 1 minute. Let cool in the refrigerator.
- For Topping: Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together the melted margarine, sesame seeds, almonds, and noodles on a baking tray and arrange in an even layer. Bake until browned, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- For Salad: Just before serving, toss the cabbage and scallions with the cool dressing. Sprinkle with the Topping and serve.
Per serving: 590 calories, 46g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 42g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 28g sugars, 5g protein
- There’s no need to saturate a salad in dressing. Use just enough dressing to coat the leaves. Try this: Toss the salad in half of the dressing and then serve the other half on the side. You can add more dressing if you need.
- Enjoy a less processed/more natural sugar, like coconut palm sugar. It has a more unique sweetness and richer color than standard white granulated sugar. Plus, it can be more diabetes friendly.
- Go for “real” instead of processed ingredients when possible. In this recipe, I removed the packaged ramen. Since it’s a flavor component, I then opted to up palate interest by adding fresh ginger for extra Asian appeal and zing … a “real” ingredient.
- When adding a crunchy topping to a salad, make sure there is plenty for contrast. Without crispy ramen in the topping, I place the focus fully on the nuts and seeds. Now they don’t get lost in the salad shuffle—and the salad tastes deliciously nuttier.
- Make sure all of the ingredients have a purpose. I quadrupled the scallions here since they originally seemed more like an afterthought.