One of the biggest reasons we get into trouble when eating out are the larger than life portion sizes. Even if the ingredients in the dish are healthy, the menu item can contain twice as much energy (calories) as our body needs, which can lead to weight gain over time. Take the steakhouse wedge salad, for example, one of my favorite menu selections. Do we really need a quarter head of iceberg lettuce smothered in at least four tablespoons of rich blue cheese dressing? A big name restaurant’s wedge salad racks up 430 calories and 10 grams saturated fat per portion, which isn’t too bad if you count that as your entire meal, but that is highly unlikely. In addition, its 960 milligrams of sodium is nearly half of the daily limit.
I gave this classic recipe a makeover with a few techniques. First, I switched Bibb lettuce for the iceberg because it contains almost twice as much potassium, more than twice as much folate, and six times as much beta-carotene. Lean, oven-crisped prosciutto replaces bacon. And I lightened the dressing, the worst offender, with light mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and balsamic vinegar for added zest. What’s your favorite restaurant dish that you’d like to see made over?
Bibb Wedge Salad with Creamy Balsamic Blue Cheese Dressing
4 thin slices prosciutto ham, each cut into 3 pieces along the natural separation
1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce, quartered, leaving some of the core intact
14 cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
3 tablespoons (9 g) chopped chives
1/4 cup (30 g) crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons (30 g) low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons (28 g) light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lowfat milk
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus additional for garnishing
To make the salad: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Place prosciutto on pan and bake until crispy, about 9 minutes. Cool.
To make the dressing: Stir together all of the dressing ingredients, mashing the blue cheese into smaller pieces.
Arrange lettuce wedges, tomatoes, and prosciutto on plates. Spoon dressing on top and sprinkle with chives and additional pepper.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 9 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 92 calories, 6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 481 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol, 5 g total carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein, 5% DV iron, 8% DV calcium, 45% DV Vitamin A, 16% DV Vitamin C.
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