I'm going to keep this short. You need nutrients, you want to consume something high (or moderately high) in Carbohydrates and High in Protein. You might be that person who needs to monitor their caloric intake but is just bored of the same old salad or chicken and rice that the PT at your local gym recommended. You need something that has predictable calories, irrespective of whether you need more or fewer calories in your diet, one thing that remains, is you need something that tastes good with predictable caloric numbers. One thing that plagues us all, is we're low on time. Another thing that might get in the way of our meal-making endeavours is our food skill/ ability to make complicated meals in the kitchen. What if I told you I have created something that takes all the skill out of making a tasty dish without sacrificing flavour or nutritional benefits. Due, in part to my jokingly obsessive chase for vanity, I have named this variation of the greek salad the "Gains Salad." This high protein, low-fat salad contains an adequate amount of carbohydrates and is customizable to fit whatever diet and is convenient to prepare in advance for a grab-and-go work/school option. Bear in mind that when you're making this salad, you don't need to fully follow the recipe, if you don't have the exact necessary ratios, you can always make it your way and it will turn out great regardless! Here is how you can make a high-protein, low-fat salad that tastes like a whole meal, instead of the bland house salads and Caesar Salads you're used to.
What You'll Need (4 Servings):
1 can garbanzo/chickpeas OR 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas
1.5 cups/~70g uncooked Short Pasta (Rotini/Penne is my Go-To)
1lb/ 454g Chicken Breast (seasoned)
4 cups (I honestly use a whole bag) of spinach
1 onion, chopped roughly
1 cup/150g grape/concerto/cherry tomatoes
1 Medium Carrot, peeled and chopped
1 English cucumber, sliced
sprinkle feta cheese
1tbsp Olive oil, 2tbsp balsamic vinegar, sprinkle oregano, a squirt of lemon juice
OR Low-Calorie Greek Salad Dressing
(if desired) Olives
1. Preheat oven to 355F (180C)
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook short pasta of your choice according to the packaging directions. Drain cooked pasta, pour into a large bowl, and cool for 5-10 minutes (if 5-10 min passes and you still aren't done, put in the fridge).
3. Season chicken with olive oil, Salt, Pepper, and your favourite "Mrs. Dash" seasoning (my go-to is chipotle), and place on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet and into the oven for 25 minutes.
4. Add Spinach leaves, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumbers, carrot, baked and sliced chicken breast, (and olives if desired) and add (either storebought or homemade) greek dressing and mixing lightly until all ingredients are coated with dressing.
5. Enjoy your "Gains Salad" Chilled.
Take Away Notes:
You can make this salad ahead of time, and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. Have fun with this meal idea and make it with your favourite ingredients by simply substituting or adding it in. Tag me in your endeavours making this quick and easy "Gain's Salad" Recipe @EvidenceNutrition! Please don't hesitate to leave your comments with feedback on how I can improve my communication in the future! I welcome and encourage it all!