‘Malibu’ Summer Salad

I just got back from a weight class at my gym.  It is similar to a Bodypump class (same format) but not exactly the same since it has its own name and doesn’t follow the exact same format.  It does make use of the weighted barbell and is h-a-r-d.  I always leave the class sweating like mad.  I know I’m not the only one because I overheard a girl waiting outside of the room say to her friend ‘that class must be really hard…everyone leaving always looks like they are going to die’.  Yep pretty much.  I know I have mentioned it before, but I highly recommend weight classes for people who might want to mix up their routine or anyone new to weightlifting.  I find it a lot easier to push myself in this kind of class setting, and if you are new to weightlifting, you don’t have to worry about being intimidated in the weight area or not really knowing which exercises to do, etc.  I also think girls a lot of the time are scared to lift heavier weights, but lifting heavier is a good thing and you will NOT bulk up from it.  I noticed today that I actually use some of the highest weight in the class (it’s usually all girls). Woo go me!!  Right as I was starting to feel a little cocky, we had to do lateral raises…my arch nemesis of arm exercises.  I had to drop down to 5 pounds and my arms were screaming in pain.  It definitely put me back in my place.

As my mom mentioned yesterday, we ate at Malibu Grill on the ‘square’ in Bloomington and all of us (with the exception of Andrew maybe) thought it was the best dinner restaurant that we have eaten at so far in Bloomington.   My parents have also been to quite a few more restaurants than I have since they go there more often.

I had the tuna which was sooooooooooo good.   The menu listed it as rare and at first I was debating not ordering it because I really don’t like when tuna is the least bit overcooked.  But I saw it was served with wasabi mashed potatoes and knew I had to go for it.   I ended up using a ton of wasabi with the tuna and my eyes were watering pretty much every bite, but it was so delicious.   The portions were really big and I started out not very hungry because we had eaten a late snack so I only finished one piece of tuna–but all of the wasabi potatoes.  It also came with a green puree, which I just had to look up on the menu to figure out what it was –a green onion soubise which I am definitely going to be recreating along with the wasabi potatoes.

The reason I am touching on this meal again after my mom talked about it is because we all really loved the salad that we had before dinner, so much so that I decided to recreate it for my lunch today.   I think the thing that stood out to both my mom and I was that they used canned diced tomatoes in the salad.  I have never seen this done before, and really would never even think to do it but it is such a great idea!  Sure, fresh tomatoes beat canned most of the time in my book but for winter time when fresh tomatoes are pretty lackluster, canned are not only cheaper but also might taste better.    If you have never tried using them in a salad, give it a try, it really adds such a different flavor.   I didn’t follow the ingredients exactly for the salad but I did try to add most of the same veggies.    Andrew even ate some of this salad and while he said it had ’too much going on’ (are we related?!), he mentioned that he could taste and liked the basil flavor.  I didn’t make the ‘tomato pesto’ as the menu suggested, but I did make sure to include basil in the dressing.

Springtime Salad

1-2 cups romaine lettuce or whichever base you would like (I subbed spinach)

1/4- 1/2 can diced tomatoes (depends how ‘tomatey’ you want the salad to be)

1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms

2-3 mini peppers or 1/2 of a whole pepper–red, yellow or orange will work

1/2 cup chickpeas

for dressing:

2 T vinegar

1 T olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon+ 1 T lemon zest

1 t dried basil (fresh would be better but I didn’t have any)

1/8 cup fresh parsley (dried would work, fresh is better)

1 t dijon mustard

1 clove garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

You can also add any other herbs that you would like!

For the salad, just mix all ingredients to combine.  For the dressing, you will want to use some sort of blender or food processor to blend in the garlic, zest and herbs.  I used a magic bullet which worked really well.

Note on the salad:  Really any veggies would work, which is why this salad is very versatile.  I almost added broccoli but decided against it.  I think carrots could be added too.   Mostly what makes the salad (I think) is the addition of chickpeas and canned tomatoes to the salad.  If you want to use extra basil actually in the salad instead of just in the dressing, you could do that too.  I also didn’t realize the salad had cheese until I looked back at the picture I took…oops!  I didn’t include it in the recipe above but you could easily add some grated mozzarella or whatever kind of cheese you like.  I really don’t think this salad needs it since there are already so many fresh herb flavors going on as well as the flavor of the diced tomatoes.   I also noticed when buying the tomatoes that there are soo many different flavors of diced tomatoes now.  Feel free to use a ‘flavored’ one if you like, I used jalapeno but I think regular would work well too.   The above pic has fresh tomatoes, but the first one I made did not, I just have a lot of tomatoes right now.

This is a perfect salad for a spring or summer day since the taste is light and refreshing.  Since we obviously aren’t going to have a spring here in Chicago, I’ll just eat this salad and pretend.

Have a great night!


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