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Vacation? Hiatus? Lazy? Call it what you will, but I can’t believe that I didn’t have a single post in August. Shame on me! This summer has been filled with a lot of fun and easy meals at home. I apologize for not posting in weeks! What have I been doing besides some traveling and enjoying the summer sun? I’ve still been scouring magazines and Pinterest for new recipes to try and have found some real winners.

Blueberry Wheat beer from the Jameport Brewery in Ludington, MI. The only better thing on their menu is the Cheddar Ale Soup with ham bits and chunks of mustard flavored Snyder’s Pretzels!

I’ve also been reorganizing my recipes and creating a new “cookbook” on my Google Drive. I spend a lot of time dealing with recipes I find in magazines: searching, tearing them out, sorting, cutting them, pasting them into one of my many binders… I thought that there must be a better, easier way to deal with all of this information in today’s electronic era. So, I still search and tear. I even do a little cutting if necessary. But now, instead of putting them into a binder and hoping that I can find them later, I’m scanning my recipes, filing them, and uploading them to the cloud! It’s so much quicker to organize my recipes now. It also makes meal planning much easier. Need ideas? All I have to do is look at my phone! No more pulling out cookbooks and binders and lists… Hooray!

As you may know, Evan and I did a cleanse this past winter: The Conscious Cleanse. While we don’t stick to the cleanse guidelines strictly today, we do still follow some of the main principles. One of the big changes we made was what we eat for breakfast and lunch. This requires planning, but after several months, we’ve got it down. Every night after the gym and a shower, one of us tackles the following day’s green smoothies (breakfast) and big ‘ole salads (lunch). The Chopped Italian Salad has become one of our favorites, so I thought I would share it with you all today.

Easy Lunchtime Chopped Italian Salad

This recipe will make two large lunch salads. We pack ours in 64 ounce plastic containers. Are you ready?

You will need a head of romaine lettuce, a cucumber, a zucchini, a red onion, kalamata olives, chickpeas, and fresh basil for the salad itself. The dressing requires honey, Dijon mustard, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dried parsley, oregano, and basil, along with freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.

Start by washing all of your fresh ingredients. Chop one whole, large head of romaine lettuce. Divide into two 64 ounce traveling containers. Chop half of a cucumber and zucchini. Add to your salads.

Easy Lunchtime Chopped Italian Salad

Next, thinly slice half a cup red onion and halve approximately 16 pitted kalamata olives (I like to use 8 olives per salad…Evan likes more). Divide these between your salads, then top each with 1/4 cup canned chickpeas and a bit of freshly sliced basil.

Easy Lunchtime Chopped Italian Salad

Now you’re ready to make your dressing. The dressing recipe should yield about 1-1/2 cups. You won’t need all of this for your lunch, so get ready for tasty leftovers!

Combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup olive oil, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/8 teaspoon dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste in a small lidded container. Shake to combine. Using a tablespoon measure, add 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing into two small plastic containers and seal, unless you are eating your salad right away (see below).

When you are ready to eat, top your salad with the dressing, and enjoy!

Easy Lunchtime Chopped Italian Salad

The leftover dressing will keep in the refrigerator in your closed jar for a week.

Easy Lunchtime Chopped Italian Salad


Time: 25 minutes

Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
16 pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup canned chickpeas*
Several fresh basil leaves, sliced

Dressing
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

1) Wash all of your fresh ingredients. Chop one whole, large head of romaine lettuce. Divide into two 64 ounce traveling containers. Chop half of a cucumber and zucchini. Add to your salads. Next, thinly slice half a cup red onion and halve approximately 16 pitted kalamata olives. Divide these between your salads, then top each with 1/4 cup canned chickpeas and a bit of freshly sliced basil.

2) Combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup olive oil, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/8 teaspoon dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste in a small lidded container. Shake to combine. Using a tablespoon measure, add 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing into two small plastic containers and seal unless you are eating your salad right away (see below).

3) When you are ready to eat, top your salad with the dressing, and enjoy!

Adapted from “The Conscious Cleanse” by Jo Schaalman and Julie Peláez

*If you are using dried chickpeas, cook them according to package directions before adding them to your salads.

Salad, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo