When it comes to gluten-, casein- and sugar-free diets, fruits and vegetables are a cornerstone of healthy eating. Individuals with sensitivities can live healthy, full lives free of digestive complications if they avoid common allergens and stick to fresh foods that are both healthful and whole.
Take your menu into spring with a collection of nourishing spring salads that will help you feel full while also providing a worry-free meal the whole family can enjoy. Earn extra points by harvesting the ingredients from your very own garden. Simple substitutions and additions can be made to play on the items grown in your own backyard.
Grilled Chicken & Veggie Salad
Pack in the protein along with the greens with this colorful dinner salad. Serves four.
- 1 pound uncooked chicken breast tenders
- 1 large zucchini, halved
- 1 medium-sized red onion, sliced
- 8 Roma tomatoes, halved
- 6 cups baby arugula
- ½ can of black olives
- 1 avocado
- 7 tablespoons balsamic dressing
- Heat gas or charcoal grill and brush the chicken and grill rack with 1 tablespoon of dressing.
- Grill chicken, zucchini and onion over medium-high heat. Cover grill; cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, or until chicken is fully cooked and vegetables are tender.
- Add tomato halves to grill for last four minutes.
- Remove all food from grill.
- Cut chicken into thin slices.
- Chop vegetables.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, vegetables (including olives) and 6 tablespoons dressing.
- Add arugula. Gently toss, and garnish with avocado slices.
Kale & Squash Salad
Go for a filling salad fit for a meal with this tasty kale-based concoction. Serves four.
- 1 medium delicata squash, cubed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (go fresh squeezed to avoid the added sugar in many store-bought brands)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (white wine vinegar works nicely)
- 1 tablespoon Kirkman’s Maple Syrup Flavoring
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 pound kale
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Toss delicata squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes or until tender and slightly browned.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with orange juice, vinegar, Kirkman’s Maple Syrup Flavoring, orange zest and cayenne pepper.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Next, place torn kale leaves (with stems removed) in a large bowl and massage until wilted.
- Place leaves on a large serving platter.
- Top with the cooked squash and pomegranate seeds
- Serve with the vinaigrette.
In the Know: Store-bought maple syrup tends to come packed with sugar. In fact, just 1 tablespoon of regular maple syrup can contain 14 grams of sugar. Go sugar-free with Kirkman’s Maple Syrup Flavoring
Expert Tip: To forgo the sometimes-bitter taste associated with kale, give the green a massage. Five minutes of rubbing the leaves together (with the fibrous ribs removed) will change the vegetable’s flavor and texture. You’ll know the rubdown is working as the leaves darken and begin to feel silky. The ultimate test comes from a bite, the bitter flavor should be gone and you’ll be left with a much sweeter taste.
Sweet Fruit Salad
Mix fruit and veggies together in a fruit salad fresh enough for summer. Serves six.
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 pear
- 1 orange
- 1 avocado
- 1 mango
- 10 strawberries
- ½ cup light olive oil
- ½ cup agave nectar
- ½ cup strawberry lemonade (2 cups fresh lemon juice, 1 cup sliced strawberries,
- 1 ¾ cups Kirkman’s No Sugar – Sugar Substitute, zest of 2 lemons, 5 cups cold water)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop all fruit into bite-sized pieces, removing cores and seeds when necessary.
- For the dressing, first make the strawberry lemonade. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and pour into a pitcher (at least ½ gallon in size).
- Next, place sliced strawberries and 1 cup of cold water in a blender, and blend on high.
- Strain the strawberry puree (optional). Then, add puree to fresh lemon juice.
- In a medium saucepan make a simple syrup by adding sugar substitute, lemon zest and ½ cup water.
- Heat on medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool completely. Add to pitcher. Stir.
- Next, add remaining ingredients except olive oil to a mixing bowl.
- Add lemonade and stir.
- Slowly drizzle olive oil while whisking until mixture thickens slightly. Chill.
In the Know: Did you know apple cider vinegar regulates yeast in the intestines? It’s also good for the heart, arteries, blood, digestion, kidneys and urinary tract; for the latter two it’s been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria. Some parents give a teaspoon or two to children (and themselves) daily to promote healthy bodies. It can, however, upset those with sensitive stomachs, so it’s best given after a meal.
Expert Tip: It’s always smart to rinse your veggies before serving. Go the extra mile by using Kirkman Kleen™ Produce Wash to eliminate unhealthy contaminants and minimize hazards by expertly removing chemical sprays, waxes, soil and other unwanted residue. It also works on fruits, cutting boards, food containers, kitchen surfaces and even hands.