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A Perfect Salad for Those Hot Nights

Perfect in two ways. This salad with an Asian flavor says summer nights. The slightly sweet and tangy dressing is yummy combined with the noodles, crisp sugar snaps and grilled chicken. Reason #2. Prepare this salad early before the heat of the day arrives. Refrigerate and all that will be left to do at the last minute is to slice some fresh fruit as a side and voila’… supper is on the table.

Grilled chicken is a healthy choice, of course. And then there is olive oil. Olives have been around for five to seven thousand years and are one of the world’s oldest foods. We all have heard that extra-virgin olive oil is a better choice than other oils. But why? It is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet and is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. It supports the blood vessels and helps to keep them strong, seeming to help prevent platelets from clotting. The main fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, the highest percentage of all other oils. It seems to lower your total cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol (Remember “L” for lousy). There also appears to be a mechanism that lowers blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that extra-virgin olive oil reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, like breast, upper respiratory, and digestive. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory benefits; as little as one to two tablespoons a day of extra-virgin olive oil will have significant health benefits. Newer studies are pointing to better bone health and better cognitive functioning also.

Tips

  •  Extra-virgin olive oil contains far more healthy ingredients than other olive oils.   However, in the U.S.A. extra-virgin is not necessarily extra-virgin. Look for the initials COOC, AOC, or DOP on the label; then it will truly be extra-virgin.
  • Look for cold-pressed because little heat is used in processing.
  •  Buy it in tinted bottles because it will help prevent oxidation caused by exposure to light.
  •  Store it in a dark cupboard, away from heat sources.
  • Avoid pure olive oil because it is a blend of refined and unrefined oils.

Asian Noodle Salad

(serves 4 – 6)

• 12 ounces sugar snap peas or snow peas
• 4 ounces dried Japanese udon noodles
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 3 green onions, white and pale green parts only
• 2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into strips
• 1/2 – 1 cup mango dressing
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Mango-Chutney Dressing

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup Major Grey’s mango chutney
• 1 1/2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon honey

1. Steam sugar snaps for a few minutes till bright green and crisp tender. Refresh in a bowl of ice water and drain.
2. Slice green onions thinly.
3. Cook udon according to package directions. Drain and mix with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Set aside.
4. For dressing, whisk all ingredients together.
5. Add onions, sugar snaps, and chicken to noodles. Add dressing to salad and toss, reserving some dressing for drizzling on top.
6. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve.

 

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