Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saladspiration: Balsamic Chicken, Lima Bean, and Hummus Spinach Salad

I'll admit - I have a lot of eccentric mini-hobbies.  I love reading ingredients on label packaging (both food and inedible products).  I love Yelping every new restaurant I pass by.  I recently love collecting acorns.  While the usefulness of these hobbies is questionable (someday I WILL make something out of my acorns!), some of my mini-hobbies actually hold some kind of benefit.  One of these hobbies is looking at pictures of food.

I don't need to look at the recipe, nor do I need to review the list of ingredients.  I simply enjoy examining the presentation of the meal and trying to guess the taste of the different ingredient combinations.  Guessing the ingredients and flavors almost becomes a mystery game for me, and it inspires me to try out my own version of the dish.

Some of my favorite kinds of food pictures to look at are salad pictures, or saladspirations if you will.  Seemingly simple to throw together, salads can be more complex, more interesting, and more delicious than a bowl of iceberg lettuce and tomato slices ever will be.  There are so many variations of leafy greens and herbs that provide a diverse assortment of flavors and textures to a salad bowl.  The addition of a single fruit or a vegetable can change the entire taste of the dish.  Basically, salads are one of the most versatile meals out there with endless mixtures and blends.  They are a fun culinary meal to make. 

Since most salads include ingredients in their raw form, the vibrant colors and shapes make the salad bowls freshly appealing, so you are attracted to their appearance at first glance.  Today I share with you my Balsamic Chicken, Lima Bean, and Hummus Spinach Salad in hopes that the crisp colors and diverse ingredients motivate you to try out this dish.

What You'll Need:
  • A large handful of spinach
  • 1 cup red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lima beans
  • 1 small grilled chicken breast, sliced (I seasoned mine with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder) **If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can easily eliminate this and still have a protein packed meal!**
  • 2 tbsp. of your favorite hummus (I used Tribe Classic Hummus)
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sprinkling of balsamic vinegar (I used about 2 tbsp.)
What You'll Do:
In a bowl or on a large plate, combine all of the prepared vegetables, beans, herbs, and spices.  Squeeze the lemon juice all over, dollop the hummus in the middle, and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar so that it reaches all parts of the salad.  Thoroughly mix everything together, and you are done!  This salad uses the ingredients as the "dressing", making it easy for meal prepping and carrying out (you don't need a separate container for dressing!).    

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