The Dude Diet: Stupid Salads

As anticipated, Logan returned from Hippie Fest 2013 bruised, battered, and weighing in at over a deuce. Thanks to 24-hour room service and a piña colada fetish, his wonderland body was in rough shape (albeit very tan). However, since returning to New York, Logan has committed himself to losing 6% of his body weight by March 1, in order to win the bet that I mentioned last week. Amazingly, he has already lost five pounds! This may or may not be due to the fact that he got off the plane and proceeded to sleep for almost three days straight, which left him very little time to eat. Regardless, I am pleased to report that The Dude Diet is back in full effect.

the-dude-diet-salads
Spreadhead.

For the past week, Logan has been eating exclusively Dude Diet approved fare. There has been a lot of smoothies, lean meats, fruit, vegetables and nuts involved. There has also been a lot of complaining. Earlier this week, when asked how his day was, Logan responded that it was miserable and that The Dude Diet was making him sick. According to him, he had a headache, his stomach felt “weird, ” he was grouchy, and he was craving a cheeseburger. I resisted the urge to ask if he was getting his period, and instead calmly replied that eating healthy food was not making him ill. I explained that he was detoxing, and that there would definitely be a slightly unpleasant adjustment period while his body got used to healthy food in place of the chimichangas and beer that it had grown accustomed to at Hippie Fest 2013.

In addition to detoxing, Logan is already starting to tire of his healthy lunch options, which does not bode well for The Dude Diet. He is very much a creature of habit when it comes to food, and he often eats one thing repeatedly until he is “over it” and never wants to eat it again. Weirdly, this only tends to happen with healthy food. (Last week I told him I was “over” Dominos, and I thought he was going to cry.) Recently, Logan’s been taking different versions of turkey roll-ups to school with him. Since I would prefer that he didn’t swear off turkey and avocados for life, I’ve been trying to get him to mix it up. So, I suggested that perhaps he should try eating more salads. This didn’t go over particularly well.

Logan’s relationship with salads has been a tricky one over the years. I remember a phase early in our courtship when Logan ordered a buffalo chicken salad for lunch at work everyday. He somehow believed that this fried chicken, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing-laden monstrosity of a “salad” was a “light choice.” I kept quiet, since we were in the honeymoon phase, and I was afraid of hurting his feelings by calling him an idiot. Luckily, I no longer have that fear. I have since explained to him the reasons why buffalo chicken salad is not Dude Diet-friendly. Needless to say, he was confused, and he is not alone. Most dudes make misguided salad choices. Caesar salads, taco salads, chicken finger salads, I’ve seen dudes order them all and think that they are the picture of health. The word “salad” is not synonymous with “slimming,” people. In fact, in many cases you’d be better off ordering a cheeseburger. To avoid such lunacy in the future, I have compiled a list of guidelines to help you all out…

Dude Diet Salad Guidelines:

1. A salad should not contain anything fried. Chicken fingers, onion rings, tortilla chips, and anything else in the deep-fried family does not magically become healthy because it is briefly in contact with lettuce. Get it together.

2. Ranch Dressing is the devil. Stop using it. 2 tablespoons of ranch packs 16 g of fat. I also know you’re using more than 2 tablespoons, which is both unnecessary and disgusting. If you must have it, at least use the fat-free variety, dummies. Also, chillax with the quantity of salad dressing you use in general. Dressing is meant to add flavor and moisture, there is no need to use a gallon of it.

3. Cool it on the cheese, dudes. A sprinkling is fine, a block of cheddar is not.

4. Ditch the croutons.Seriously. You are literally putting buttered bread in your salad. Common sense, dudes.

5. Limit nuts and dried fruit. Raw nuts are good for you, but they are calorie-dense, so don’t go dumping them on your salad with reckless abandon. CANDIED nuts are not your friend. They are rolled in sugar, hence the term “candied.” Dried fruit is also packed with sugar and has very little nutritional value. You do not need handfuls of dried cranberries in a salad. A couple tablespoons will do.

Unfortunately, since being made aware of these guidelines, Logan has been pretty anti-salad. Based on their lack of cheese, fried food, and ranch dressing, he has uniformly written off all healthy salads as boring and torturous to eat. He will occasionally force down what he refers to as “stupid salads” up at Columbia in an attempt to make better food choices, which should be commended. However, there is no need to be miserable (or melodramatic) when eating a diet-friendly salad. Salads can be delicious without the moob-inducing add-ons. There are endless delicious combinations to be made, and when it comes to flavor, grilled chicken, fish, or steak will always win out over their deep-fried counterparts. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to make Logan a salad-lover, but I decided to give it my best shot. I proudly present Spicy Steak Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

This salad is epic. Crunchy romaine is a perfect complement to tender sweet potatoes, and the spicy lime dressing brightens everything up. Throw in the juicy steak element, and you have a satisfying, dude-approved meal. You can also make this salad the night before and take it to work/school/the couch with you, since it tastes equally delicious cold. Just make sure that you wait to dress it until just before eating. (Soggy lettuce is a dealbreaker.)

I can honestly say that I may have succeeded in changing Logan’s attitude toward salad with this creation. There was no mention of the lack of cheese, and he grunted appreciatively throughout the meal. He also said that he lovedthe dressing and that he “would eat this salad everyday until he was over it.” I told him not to get carried away, but honestly, I was thrilled. I mean, the dude was gushing.  In fact, Logan just called to say he was leaving the Racquet Club, where he had gone for a run, gotten a haircut and the top of his back shaved (don’t ask), and had a salad for lunch. And he sounded happy about it. I’m a miracle worker. You heard it here first.

 

Spicy Steak Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes: (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 lb flank steak (preferably 2 steaks at ½ lb each…they cook faster)
For the steak rub:
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
For the salad:
8 cups chopped hearts of romaine (about 3 whole hearts of romaine)
6 scallions, finely sliced
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 small sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups cubed sweet potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt
white pepper
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Cholula
1 tsp honey
¼ tsp salt

Preparing your salad:

*Pre-heat the oven to 375.

-Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and white pepper. Toss to coat. Roast the sweet potatoes for 25 minutes, turning once. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature.

-While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare your flank steak. In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, cumin and Mexican chili powder. Mix well.

The-Dude-Diet-Spicy-Steak-Salad-with-roasted-sweet-potatoes-step-by-step-recipe
Requisite raw meat picture for the visual learners.

-Use your hands to rub the seasoning on both sides of the steak. You can cook your steaks on an actual grill or in a hot grill pan. (Stop panicking, you can also use a regular pan if you have to.)

-Cook for approximately 7-8 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest for ten minutes before slicing.

-Add the romaine, red onions, sweet potatoes, cilantro, and scallions to a large bowl.

-In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving, and toss.

-Serve salad topped with sliced flank steak. Prepare for Dude Diet domination.

The-Dude-Diet-Spicy-Steak-Salad-with-roasted-sweet-potatoes-step-by-step-recipe
Not-So-Stupid Salad.

Spicy Steak Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes: (Serves 4)

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flank steak (preferably 2 steaks at ½ lb each…they cook faster)
  • For the steak rub:
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican chili powder
  • For the salad:
  • 8 cups chopped hearts of romaine (about 3 whole hearts of romaine)
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups cubed sweet potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Cholula
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375.
  2. Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and white pepper. Toss to coat. Roast the sweet potatoes for 25 minutes, turning once. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare your flank steak. In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, cumin and Mexican chili powder. Mix well.
  4. Use your hands to rub the seasoning on both sides of the steak. You can cook your steaks on an actual grill or in a hot grill pan. (Stop panicking, you can also use a regular pan if you have to.)
  5. Cook for approximately 7-8 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest for ten minutes before slicing.
  6. Add the romaine, red onions, sweet potatoes, cilantro, and scallions to a large bowl.
  7. In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving, and toss. Serve salad topped with sliced flank steak.
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