Berry Poppyseed Salad

I don’t know why, but today, I came home from work and was starving! I have a wonderful dinner planned (which I will post about later on tonight), and I needed something light and easy, that wouldn’t ruin my appetite later, and fast — before I got too HANGRY. I went to my go-to salad for a quick fix. It was just enough to fill me up until dinnertime, and to prevent me from munching while I cook.

Berry Poppyseed Salad
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients
Salad
12 cups baby spinach
2 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups blackberries
1/4 cup almonds, sliced and unsweetened
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese

Dressing
1 cup fat free mayonnaise
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Splenda, or other sugar substitute
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp poppy seed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, toss together all salad ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined.
  3. Lightly dress salad with dressing, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

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Avocado, Mango and Black Bean Salad

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I am obsessed with avocados. Literally obsessed. I wish I could remember the first time I had an avocado, because I’m sure that I was completely unaware of how much more delicious life would be from that point forward.

I remember the first time I ate a mango, though. I hated it. I was visiting my aunt and uncle during the very peak of mango season, and I refused to take more than one bite of the chilled orange fruit. My mother was appalled, but she blissfully ate my share. I think on some level she was happy about it too, because it meant more sticky, sweet, juicy mangoes for her.

Then, last year, I sat at my cousin’s dining table with her then 2-year old daughter, who was cheerfully naming every color and letter and number she knew. My cousin made a beautiful spread of food for lunch, and on the side: mangoes. With much urging, and several not-so-subtle “mmm this is soooo good. You have no idea what you’re missing!” comments, I scooped a small piece of mango into my spoon. How incredible that first bite of mango was! As I furiously ate the rest of the mango slices, with deep orange juices covering my mouth and fingers, I begged my cousin not to tell my grandma how much I liked mangoes now. You see, I’d been refusing mangoes since I reached India, and my grandma kept trying to convince me otherwise.

Well, my cousin told my grandma, who was more thrilled than anyone else. But what ensued was sheer mango chaos. At every turn for my remaining time in the country, my grandma had a plate of mangoes just for me. I’d get out of the shower, and there would be a plate of mangoes waiting for me. After lunch? Mangoes. While watching TV? More beautiful mangoes. It was mango overload. And I loved every minute of it.

Now for the recipe. This salad is a mix of the things I love so dearly. Creamy avocados, sweet mangoes, earthy black beans, and bright lime — all combined in under 5 minutes! Give me a big bowl NOW.

Avocado, Mango and Black Bean Salad
Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients:
15 oz no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
2 mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (see notes)
2 avocados, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 jalapeno, finely sliced (see notes)
3 Tbsp lime juice
Salt, to taste
Cilantro (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve chilled.

Notes:
Mangoes aren’t in season? Try adding peaches instead! Any soft, sweet, juicy fruit will provide excellent contrast to the creamy avocados.
Add more or fewer jalapenos to your spiciness preference.

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