Spice Up Your Salad with Flavors From Around the World

There are certain foods that evoke a cultural feeling inside and if you close your eyes you may even feel like you’re in a different part of the world. Indulge in eggplant Parmesan and you could be in Italy, crunch on chips and guacamole and you may find yourself in Mexico, and travel to Asia while slurping up dumplings. The herbs and spices that flavor food are key ingredients that help to impart those cultural food memories, and while they were historically used as food preservatives and for their health benefits, these days their use goes far beyond. With the increase in food blogging, self-proclaimed foodies, and sites like Instagram and Pinterest where food porn abounds, there is great interest in the flavor profile of herbs and spices and how they can be used to enhance the taste of food. Herbs and spices are showing up in cocktails, sauces (think chimichurri), spreads (think pesto) and dips (think salsa), and as garnish on the simplest to the most exquisite dishes you can find at restaurants and on home cooked plates of food. And believe it or not, herbs and spices are playing a greater role than before in one of the seemingly least complex dishes you can probably think of: Salad.

Here at the Salad Swap we know a thing or two about creating a salad full of flavor, especially when it comes to those worldly flavors we dream about. And we don’t shy away from using herbs and spices that take our salads from “eh” to “mmmmm…”

Find your favorite ethnic flavor profile with the delicious salad recipes below.

jessica around world article

Peppercorn-Crusted Ahi Tuna Salad

Peppercorn-Crusted Ahi Tuna Salad

Roasted Chickpea and Cucumber Salad

Roasted Chickpea & Cucumber Salad

Baked Lemon Tilapia with Crispy Kale Chips

Lemon Tilapia with Crispy Kale Chips

Click the salad photo to get the recipes!

Find the other ethnic salad recipes from above.

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express

Back to School Grocery Guide

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As summer draws to a close and the new school year begins, parents are busy shopping for new school supplies, apparel, and electronics their children need for the year ahead. While all of the above are essential for the back-to-school shopping lists, so too are the foods children need to nourish them for the long school days ahead. Whether or not children buy lunch at school, it’s best for parents to stock up on nutrient-rich foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that kids of all ages can grab and go as they’re running out the door to catch the bus or racing from one after-school activity to the next. Below are some groceries to include on the next back-to-school shopping spree. Keep in mind to get a variety of foods that offer protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates that will keep children energized and satiated throughout the day.

Whole grain cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Cereal is easy to portion into snack-size resealable bags, which can be prepared in advance for kids who don’t wake up in time for a sit-down breakfast.

Individual servings of low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese often offer protein and calcium (look for at least 5 grams of protein and 100 milligrams of calcium per serving), two nutrients that school-age children need. Great for on-the-go breakfasts, snacks, or to add to a lunch cooler.

Hard-boiled eggs, edamame, canned beans, sliced cheese, nut butters, grilled chicken breast, and sliced turkey and ham are all sources of protein that are relatively quick and easy to prep and can be added to sandwich bread or salads for lunch.

Ready-to-go salad bowls, like Fresh Express Gourmet Café Creative Classics Chicken Caesar Salad, are well-balanced and quick meal choices that are full of flavor and won’t take any time to prep.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are easy and nutrient-rich. Keep a variety on hand, including some that are mess-free like bananas and apples, which are easy to throw in a lunch bag without worrying about spoilage. Over the weekend, children can help slice up veggies like carrots, peppers, and cucumbers, which make a nutritious side for lunch or after-school snack.

Single serve dips like hummus, nut butters, and guacamole are portable and just the right size for a snack. Pair them with sliced fruit and vegetables or whole grain crackers.

Trail mix fixings like nuts, dried fruit, and mini chocolate chips, can be portioned out and packed in resealable bags. Some fruit and nut cereal bars that are not too high in added sugar are also easy to throw in the backpack and snack on between classes and activities.

Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Find out where you can purchase Fresh Express Gourmet Cafe Salads by using our Store Locator Tool.

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express

Find your favorite Salad Swap recipes here.

5 Tips & Tricks to Get Dinner On the Table Fast

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It’s no easy feat to get dinner on the table at the end of a long day. Sure you can get some takeout or microwave a frozen meal, but wouldn’t it be nice to sit down to a home-cooked meal full of fresh ingredients and flavors once in a while? Not to mention all the health benefits associated with eating at home and with family and friends. It may seem daunting to cook up meals during the week, but there are a few tips and tricks that will make it easier than you think.

  1. Prepare in advance. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Planning ahead is the number one way to ensure a nutritious and delicious dinner will be on the table at a relatively normal hour most nights of the week (you want to eat at 7 pm, not 9 pm, right?!). To make that happen, plan your menu and buy your groceries over the weekend; dice, slice, and chop as many ingredients as you can when you have the time; double or triple recipes so you have leftovers that will last a few days; make big batches of one pot meals that freeze well, like soups, stews, and casseroles; freeze burgers and chicken in single serving sizes that will quickly defrost.
  1. Use pre-made or ready to eat ingredients. Homemade doesn’t mean every single part of the meal has to be made from scratch. Make your life simpler by purchasing ready to use ingredients, such as jarred tomato sauce for pasta dishes, pre-cut vegetables like cubed winter squash and trimmed green beans, and salmon and veggie burgers from the freezer aisle. Just be sure to read the ingredients list and Nutrition Facts before you throw them in your grocery cart!
  1. Keep a fresh salad in the fridge. Chop up veggies and stock up on salad greens over the weekend and you’ll always have the vegetable portion of your plate filled whether or not you have time to cook. If you’re having a frozen dinner, put it on a plate with the salad for a more well-rounded meal; add some canned beans from the pantry and some shredded cheese for a more filling salad; or try Fresh Express’ Gourmet Café ready-to-serve salad bowls like Chopped Santa Fe and Kale Great Greens – quick and tasty meals with no prep required!
  1. Invest in a slow cooker. You still need to chop up vegetables and get your ingredients ready to throw in, but once everything is in the pot, you can head out the door in the morning and return to a delish home-cooked meal.
  1. Read ahead. How many times have you started cooking just to find that as you go along in the recipe you don’t have everything on hand? By reviewing the recipe first, you’ll also be able to prepare certain ingredients that take the longest time, like rice or pasta, so they’re ready to go once the rest of the recipe is done.

Find out where you can purchase Fresh Express Gourmet Cafe Salads by using our Store Locator Tool.

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express