Monday, May 14, 2012

Chickpea and Eggplant Tossed Salad with Balsamic-Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Summer is basically here, and what better dish for the warm months than a fresh and light salad. Sweet and creamy roasted red pepper, salty feta cheese, protein packed chickpeas, and tons of veggies make this a filling and satisfying salad with layer upon layer of flavor. But the best part is that it's 100% swimsuit season approved!
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
2 Zucchini, quartered lengt-wise and cut into 1" pieces
1 medium Eggplant, cut into bite-size chunks
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup reduced-fat Feta Cheese, crumbled
4 cups fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
4 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
Balsamic-Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a foil lined sheet pan, toss together salt, oregano, zucchini, eggplant, chickpeas, and olive oil. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, toss spinach and romaine together and divide evenly onto 4 plates (or bowls). Top each serving with 1/4 cup feta, 3 tablespoons dressing, and a quarter of the cooled chickpea mixture. Serve and enjoy.

Servings: 4; 470 calories per serving

Sweet and Tangy Balsamic-Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

I am very picky when it comes to salads. It seems like they are only enjoyable and satisfying when loaded with fattening ingredients, especially when it comes to the dressing. This salad dressing, however, is sweet, tangy, creamy, and rich...but without all the fat. And it's not just tasty on salads. Enjoy this dressing drizzled over chicken, as a dip for kebabs, or as a burger topping (particularly good with melted mozzarella and fresh basil).

1/2 cup Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup roughly chopped Roasted Red Bell Pepper, about half of one pepper (if using store bought, make sure fat content is low)
2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh Garlic
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients, except salt and pepper, together using a blender, food processor, or imulsion blender. Add salt and pepper gradually, blending and tasting as you go. I use 4 to 5 grinds of black pepper and two liberal pinches of salt.

Servings: 4 Serving Size: 3 tablespoons; 20 calories per serving