You can't make friends with salad?
February 4, 2015 1:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm on a diet and eating a lot of green leafy salad. So much green leafy salad I might go crazy. Save me from green leafy salad.

I am a salad lover, but let's just say I've eaten my share of green leafy salads. I need other diet foods that will be very filling (really filling, please). Carbs are fine, but no meat please. Fish and eggs are OK though. Extra challenge: need ample protein!

posted by Toddles to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
Quinoa is your friend. Make it with vegetable stock for more flavor. You can make hot dishes or cold salads with beans, veggies, and such.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:39 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

try adding grains to your salad. wheatberry's a good option. a good formula to try is grain+cheese(feta, goat)+fruit(dried berries)+nuts.
posted by monologish at 1:40 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Soups! Brothy ones if you're specifically concerned about calories; chunky ones (made creamy by blending potatoes or beans or split peas, etc.) for days when you have more caloric leeway. A big bowl of soup (pho, chili, ramen, lentil, red curry coconut, black bean,...) can be extremely filling. Also: delicious!
posted by rebekah at 1:41 PM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

How about chunky and juicy salad?

Cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, with dill and oil and vinegar?

How about Vietnamese Green Papaya salad? You can add cold rice noodles if you want it to be bulkier.

Brown rice salad, with chopped green onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped spinach, pinion nuts, oil and vinegar dressing. Add any other veggies you like.

Lentil soup
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:42 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Roast root vegetables and brussels sprouts (or cauliflower, or broccoli, or asparagus)!

For protein, try a mujadara recipe; tofu also bakes up nicely, especially when seasoned and/or marinated.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like to put cottage cheese and leftover chicken on top of (not a lot) lettuce.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is a situation where having a rice cooker really comes in handy. Do you have one? If so, you can put damn near any "boil for a while, then simmer for a long time" grain in with 2x-3x as much water and start it cooking on the "combined" setting. Then set it and forget it - come back in an hour and it's done. You can make very filling combinations of white rice, brown rice, black rice, quinoa, rolled barley... many of these are quite high in fiber and sometimes protein as well.

If the grains alone don't do it for you, after it's done, stir in some lentils, beans, or chickpeas and you will substantially increase both fiber and protein. I usually use this as a side dish but it's so filling you could probably just have a modest sized bowl as your whole meal - not that it would taste super interesting that way. But this plus a side of roasted veggies can really tide you over.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

my standbys:
  1. Chickpea Salad with Parmesan and Lemon. SO GOOD
  2. A brick of Trader Joe's pre-cooked lentils (in the vegetable case) marinated in Trader Joe's Cilantro salad dressing (also in the vegetable case). Makes multiple servings.
Also: How to Make a Good Salad Without Dumb Leaves
posted by homodachi at 1:54 PM on February 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

I eat cheese and/or tofu with my salads, usually.
posted by three_red_balloons at 1:58 PM on February 4, 2015

(You do need to exercise a little care picking which veg to roast. White potatoes can get high-calorie, but things like winter squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini, turnips, and celery root are hearty without a ton of calories.)
posted by en forme de poire at 1:59 PM on February 4, 2015

If you want non-leafy salads/veggies, meMail me and I'll send you a couple recipes from my blog. Same nutrition without feeling like you're eating grass every day.

Also google Ayib Begomen - Ethiopian spiced cottage cheese served over cooked collard greens. Protein + leaves but totally different than a salad!
posted by at 1:59 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

1. For salad fatigue, I highly recommend Terry Hope Romero's Salad Samurai. They're not all low-fat, but since you've been doing the diet thing for a while, you probably know which ones to avoid.

2. Soups are awesome, as mentioned above. They're like half water, so you can eat a lot, be full, and still not have a ton of calories. For any soup that requires cream, try blending broth and cauliflower instead for a low-fat alternative.

3. I like to do backwards pasta, pasta with a ton of some vegetable-heavy topping and a tiny bit of pasta at the bottom. Just look for any pasta recipe that has a chunky topping.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:01 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Quinoa might be your friend, but it is not a friend to the people of the Andes.

Filling + protein + carbs = chana masala, or similar. Quick and dirty version, sautee some onions and garlic--ginger if you like--in a saucepan. Add garam masala or ras el-hanout. Toss in some chopped tomatoes. Add a can of drained chickpeas. Add vegetable stock (you said no meat, I'm assuming chicken stock is a no-go) to cover, and simmer until slightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper, consume. Very filling, perfect for wintry evenings, takes 1 pot and less than 20 minutes.

You can also blend this into a pureed soup if you like.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:11 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Big omelettes filled with veggies (and cheese if that's ok with you). Add a slice of toasted whole grain bread and that should keep you full for a while.

I don't really like to eat leafy greens that much, so I just often do salads without them. A nice Greek salad is my favorite: cubed feta (not crumbled), tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic/oregano.
posted by lunasol at 2:29 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mix kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and your choice of canned veggies (olives, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts in water, etc) with some light salad dressing. Protein and yum!
posted by radioamy at 2:38 PM on February 4, 2015

Stir fry? I stir fry massive amounts of tofu with all the vegetables and eat it all week.
posted by kinetic at 2:46 PM on February 4, 2015

In nutrition research, the word for "filling" is satiety. Filling things tend to have low glycemic index, high fiber, high protein, high water content, and high volume. Also, taking more small bites improves satiety. Some ways to achieve that without leafy greens:

- chickpeas roasted in oil, salt, and sugar: fiber, protein, and you have to put them into your mouth one at a time.

- fruit salad, especially with berries: fiber, water, volume. Apparently as satiating as bread and beans. Jimenez-Cruz 2009.

- vegetables other than leafy greens, like broccoli or cauliflower roasted crispy and brown, sauteed green beans, carrots, the stems of kale and collard greens sauted. Low GI, fiber, water, volume.

- start every meal with a big cup of rich, unsalted broth. It's fine to have some grease floating on top.

- king oyster mushrooms. They're available in Asian markets, and you can sautee them in big meaty chunks that soak up whatever gravy or sauce you put on them, but they're really just fibrous water in the end.

Also, would it help to dress your green salads more liberally? For example, a few ounces of pan-seared fish flaked and mixed with all its drippings. I don't like green salads either, but if I chiffonade the greens and dress them with meat drippings, I'll eat them happily multiple times a week.
posted by d. z. wang at 2:50 PM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

posted by H21 at 3:29 PM on February 4, 2015

Dittoing the soups option, since they're a great way to consume loads more leafy greens than the average person cares to eat raw. For instance, I got about four bunches of collards in my CSA last week, and I am currently enjoying a massive second late lunch serving of soup made with mushroom stock, one bunch of colards, two carrots, four garlic cloves, one diced potato, one diced tomato, and spices (2 ground cloves, 2 ground allspice berries, red pepper, turmeric). And About a gallon of water. The best.

Check out the recipes (not just the soups) at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The blog title may not sound appetizing, but don't be deceived--her recipes have been my go-to standards over the last few years (yay getting to a healthy weight). Her personal manifesto for healthy weight management is a good one: KISSS (keep it simple, soups and salads). Plus all her recipes have nutritional info and are integrated into MyFitnessPal.

Reducing the oil content of meals and opting for essentially vegan dishes is also the impetus behind the Cleveland Clinic's cardiac health eating plans, which have been commercialized under the Engine 2 moniker. You should check out the Engine 2 book if you get time--my library has a copy, but I got one online for, like, two dolars. The recipes are all incredibly simple and meet your criteria to a T.

Oh also, my simple trick for satisfying salads: puree some leftover soup with a few walnuts or cashews or almonds = bam, bitchin salad dressing that isn't 90% refined oil.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:38 PM on February 4, 2015

Cabbage slaws are a different beast than a leafy green salad, imo. I like them on their own, on tacos or with a small serving of tuna salad on top. Vary the type of vinegar (apple, red wine, rice wine), other veg (carrots, broccoli, red onion, green onion), additions (nuts, sunflower seeds, grapes, raisins), seasonings (salt, touch of sugar/honey, chili powder). I eat so much cabbage.

Roasted cauliflower or broccoli are great ideas. Another thing to consider is cauliflower "rice." I swear it's good! This video finally convinced me to try it. Easy, fast and tasty.

So is fruit salad! Fruit salad takes a lot of chopping but you can eat the leftovers for a couple days and it is pretty alright, imo. (Except bananas get a weird texture after sitting.) I often take a chunk of orange and just squeeze the juices from that on top of the fruit salad to really get it going.
posted by purple_bird at 3:49 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like to make salads with zero leafy greens and a bunch of crunchy things - carrots, apples, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever I've got, chopped up into small pieces and tossed with dressing. I add in a chunk of protein, maybe some goat cheese and nuts.

It's a nice break from leaf lettuce and feels quite virtuous.
posted by bunderful at 4:14 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I made this from leftovers this week, it was soo good I'm putting it into regular rotation: 2:1 mix of farro with red quinoa, roasted squash (I used delicata, I'm sure spaghetti would have been nice too, or even sub in any roasted root veggie) with lemon garlic vinegrette. I'm guessing adding tofu would work well too.
posted by cestmoi15 at 4:36 PM on February 4, 2015

Something I made sort-of-on-accident one night by throwing together leftovers and have made many times since:

Bake some diced sweet potatoes (seasoned as desired--I use S&P, garlic, and onion powder), then combine in a pot on the stove with:

+ 1 Can of black beans
+ Some Chicken or veggie stock (whatever amount you want, depending on whether you want it to lean more "soup or stew")
+ A handful of greens like spinach (if you want! or skip!)

Bring to a simmer, then crack an egg on top (don't mix, just let it sit there--it might sink a little but that's ok). Cover for 3-5 minutes to poach, then serve with green salsa on top. BOOM--ProteinFest 2015 and very, very filling. You could even skip the sweet potatoes (the chopping/baking can be a pain and this is still good without it). I've added frozen corn too, but again, it could do without.
posted by lovableiago at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't have anything against fake sausage, try Field Roast (mostly gluten, something like 25g protein and 250 calories per sausage). I like the apple sage links pan-crisped alongside roasted veggies, and the chipotle flavor is good warm: in omelettes or with black beans, onion, tomatoes, olives, avocado, and whatever else you like in taco salad.

I'm also a fan of edamame. You can buy it shelled and frozen, so you just boil it. Add a nice olive oil vinaigrette, veggies, and farro/wheatberries/etc, and you have a tasty and easily varied meal.
posted by esoterrica at 5:07 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Broccoli slaw! You can do basically anything to it - dress it like slaw (creamy or vinegary) or salad, cook it - and not just Asian-ish, you can do a nice stir fry with a cut up tomato or some salsa, or scramble egg into it - use it to garnish tacos, hide it in tomato sauce to go over spaghetti squash or cauliflower.

I buy it in a big bag, eat it raw for about half the bag, and then cook it when it starts getting a little past its prime. You can also throw part of it in the freezer for baking into casseroles and stir-frying later.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:09 PM on February 4, 2015

Tabouli/tabbouleh - green, but not leafy in the way lettuce is. Use curly parsley and finely chop it. Adjust the amount of bulgur to suit your tastes.
posted by WasabiFlux at 5:59 PM on February 4, 2015

Best answer: I have nothing to add to the great suggestions above but my user name mandated that I comment.
posted by youdontmakefriendswithsalad at 6:28 PM on February 4, 2015 [11 favorites]

Best answer: I fell a little bit out of love with salads last year when I was on a pretty strict diet myself.

What rescued me was a local Just Salad--not so much because I bought their salads (which are good), but because I was able to steal ideas for amazing salads from their menu.

The love affair is back on!
posted by yellowcandy at 6:51 PM on February 4, 2015

If you like the convenience of something that goes together quickly and doesn't require cooking, you might try adding some slaws to your repertoire. If you've got a food processor, making a batch of slaw is a five-minute proposition, and it will keep in the fridge for several days.

Coleslaw is obviously the granddaddy of them all, and you can make it as low-fat/low-cal as you like (replace mayo with yogurt, replace sugar with sugar substitute) and up the protein with hard boiled eggs or canned beans or tuna. You can swap out the dressing for an Asian sort of ginger-soy dressing, or you can swap out the cabbage for broccoli (good way to use broccoli stems if you get whole heads--peel and shred). I've never been a jicama fan, but some people like jicama slaw, and it's got insane amounts of fiber. Carrot slaw. Radish slaw.

Basically, start with any edible-raw solid veggie, shred, add dressing, and add in any of the protein add-ins you would add to a leafier salad (eggs, fish, nuts, cheese, beans).
posted by drlith at 3:30 AM on February 5, 2015

I discovered this salad this summer, from The Healthy Girl's Kitchen:

2 ears corn (husk and silk removed) (I just use a can of corn)
1 pint cherry, grape, or pear tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 avocado, halved, pitted and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
coarse salt and ground pepper

Stand ear of corn in a large wide bowl. With a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels. Discard cobs.

Add tomatoes, avocados, scallions, black beans and lime juice to bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.

posted by lyssabee at 8:14 AM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by capricorn at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2015

Ni├žoise salad. Usually includes lettuce, but need not be too leafy.
posted by clark at 3:03 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Lentil salad! I love lentil salad. General recipe rules/ideas:
Cooked lentils (not split--use green or black)
Thinly shaved aromatics (onion and/or fennel)
Crunchy veggies (diced carrots, raw shredded cabbage--I like using red cabbage)
Vinegar-based dressing (honestly, sometimes I just splash apple cider vinegar on it until it tastes right)
Optional: fresh herbs
Optional: cooked flaked smoked salmon (or regular salmon), or I guess other fish too. I like the taste of fish + lentils, ymmv.

If it's too calorie-dense for you as mostly lentils, you can up the amount of cabbage in it; if you need more protein (which seems unlikely, but what do I know) use the fish.
posted by mismatched at 11:29 AM on February 9, 2015

Nuts and cheese. You said fish and eggs were okay but you didn't say about the lacto. And nobody's mentioned nuts. Anyway, what I do, I get a pile of mixed nuts and a container of Temptee cream cheese which my friend taught me to eat spread on matzoh, but obviously matzoh is out. I figured out how to recreate that experience without the carbohydrate. I use the nuts like a potato chip and the Temptee like dip and it's delightful. You can also eat a couple of nuts with a few blueberries or a strawberry and it totally tastes like pie.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:07 PM on March 4, 2015

Omega trail mix from Trader Joe's. Sprinkle this over your salad.
Quality croutons.
Fresh diced chicken.
posted by nephilim. at 4:23 PM on March 31, 2015

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