A really weird reaction to have to such a boring crisp flavorless nutritionally void innocuous vegetable, I know. But, as I'm sure Freud would confirm, it's totally my mother's fault. Five gazillion too many dinner salads that consisted only of the aforementioned perpetrator, out-of-season tomatoes, and a cup of 100-calorie-a-tablespoon blue cheese dressing later, and this is what happens.
It's a learned reflex.
My feelings about salad dressing did not make it out unscathed either (though my love of tomatoes remains largely unperturbed). Whereas Iceberg lettuce induces every nerve cell on my epithelium to seize, most salad dressings activate my gag reflex. Especially the thick creamy ones.
There's just something so wrong about a shelf stable semi-liquid made with dairy. I just can't wrap my mind or my tastebuds (or my autonomic nervous system) around it.
It was with great trepidation then (and a plastic bag situated strategically next to me...for obvious reasons) that I taste tested the Greek feta dressing from Marzetti's new Simply Dressed line. Unlike most salad dressings, these are free of preservatives, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. In fact, the ingredient list consisted only of things that I could find in my kitchen, with the exception of xanthan gum, which is used as a food thickener and also in most gluten-free baking, and is a naturally occurring polysaccharide. I could deal with that.
The verdict? Yum. The dressing was tangy and totally feta-full, which I loved. And it went perfectly on top of my eggplant and chickpea salad with Moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash (the only way in which I've ever actually LOVED eating spaghetti squash on it's own). While a bit calorie dense at 110 calories for 2 tbsp, it was flavorful enough that only half of that was necessary to dress the salad.
Totally fit for Friday eats.
So long as there's no Iceberg lettuce around. I might never be able to get over that one. At least not without an inordinate amount of psychotherapizing. We're working on it.
Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 (3 1/2-4 lb) spaghetti squash
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used light butter), cut into pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Roast the squash, cutting it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is barely golden. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.
- Working over a bowl, scrape the squash flesh with a fork so that it forms spaghetti-like strands. Toss with the spiced butter.
Eggplant and Chickpea Salad
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit Fast/Easy/Fresh
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb eggplant, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 15 oz can garganzo beans, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Simply Dressed Greek Feta Salad dressing or any similar homemade dressing
- Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant cubes and onions; sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 9 minutes. Stir in garbanzo beans, cumin, and vinegar. Sauté until heated through and flavors blend, adding enough garbanzo bean liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if mixture is dry, about 4 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve, along with the moroccan spaghetti squash, on a bed of spinach and drizzle with dressing.
I'm submitting this to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays!