This perfect, pan seared scallops with an orange-lime vinaigrette salad keeps me keto on busy days.
Every once in a while I find fresh, dry sea scallops (slightly pink) that look too good to pass up. I don’t bother with previously frozen or wet scallops as they have been treated to extend their shelf life and are not nearly the same.
This is a great satisfying, simple, and light dinner salad and if you are a scallop fan, it will become a new favorite. It’s important to keep scallops simple so they can shine on your taste buds and this recipe does that and so much more.
This recipe is for 2 and is an easy and great romantic dinner option with room for a low-carb dessert. Dark chocolate covered strawberries anyone?
- 1 pound large sea scallops, tendons removed - around 12
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 oz. fresh mesclune greens - divided.
- 1/2 Avocado - cubed.
- 1 sliced, grilled portobello mushroom - optional
- Place scallops on rimmed baking sheet lined with clean dish towel. Place second clean dish towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while towels absorb moisture.
- Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 12‑inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking.
- Add scallops in single layer, flat side down, and cook, without moving, until well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops and continue to cook, using large spoon to baste scallops with melted butter (tilt skillet so butter runs to 1 side) until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds longer (remove smaller scallops as they finish cooking).
- Combine orange juice, lime juice, shallot, cilantro, and pepper flakes in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt to taste.
- Plate scallops with mesculin salad and drizzle vinaigrette.
- Best to make the Orange-Lime Vinaigrette and prepare the salad before starting the scallops.
This Wedge Salad delivers big flavor with bacon lardons and home-made blue cheese dressing.
Every once in a while I stumble upon a keto food with the perfect macros that I can’t imagine how I ever lived without.
My wife and I were out to dinner at The Capitol Grill in Hartford several nights ago and ordered The Wedge Salad. I forgot just how good these can be when they are done right and this one was friken amazing! We don’t often go to high-end steak houses but this place is worth the trip just for the wedge salad.
We are big fans of salads at our home but usually go for the more nutritious lettuce varieties like, Kale, Spinach, Arugula or at least Romaine. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even purchased a head of iceberg lettuce in over 20 years!
It’s time for a change!
In this case, the iceberg in the wedge salad is just a crisp delivery system for the whole-fat yumminess of the blue cheese dressing and bacon lardons.
To do this dish justice be sure to chill down your salad plates and dressing and keep the wedge cold and crisp until right before serving. If you want to go crazy, chill a few salad forks too.
I can see how this classic wedge salad might even be a meal for some if you add some grilled salmon or chicken but the slab bacon is really all you will ever need. Sometimes, messing with perfection is not always a good idea!
The lardons also adds a nice additional level of crunch to the crisp lettuce so you get to hold the croutons – perfect!
- 1 large head of Iceberg lettuce
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided (reserve a 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup sour cream - Full fat
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (olive oil - Hellmans)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 pound smoked slab bacon
- 1 large shallot, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and separated into rings
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place 4 salad plates in the refrigerator to chill.
- Mash garlic clove with salt with a chef knife against a cutting board to make a paste.
- Mash 1/2 of the blue cheese with the back of a fork in a medium bowl until mostly smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, garlic paste, chives, and black pepper, and mix thoroughly until completely combined.
- Add half the remaining cheese and mix gently, leaving clumps of cheese here and there. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the salad. Make at least 1/2 hour ahead of serving.
- Cut smoked slab bacon into 1/8 inch cubes.
- Cook the bacon in a single layer in a large frying pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and deeply browned and most of the fat has rendered out. Transfer with tongs to the paper towel-lined plates; set aside.
- Core the lettuce and cut it into quarters through where the core was. Place a wedge on each of the chilled salad plates. Divide the shallot rings and tomatoes evenly among the plates. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the dressing over each wedge. Add the reserved slab bacon lardons evenly over the salads. Serve immediately.
- The dressing can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Fresh crushed peppercorns are best
Some of the best low carb salad dressings come from a bottle.
More often than not we make our own simple vinaigrette to go on our various salads but there are nights, when short on time, a decent bottled dressing does the trick. If you are looking for the best low carb salad dressings and the perfect avocado you do not have to go far. Most on the market are loaded with sugars and other questionable ingredients but then there are some really good ones if you know what to look for.
Newman’s Own offers several low carb, 2-3 grams per serving, options that are great in a pinch. They even have a low carb Caesar dressing but if I am going to make a Caesar Salad, I’m going to make it from scratch.
One of my favorite quick lunches I learned from my mother. Believe it or not between the Rice Krispies and Pop Tarts there are a few healthy food habits that your / my parents passed down, whether they knew it or not at the time.
Take a perfectly ripe avocado, remove the pit and fill the cavity with a good italian-ish dressing – dig in with a spoon getting some dressing with each bite. So simple and yet this is how I learned to eat an avocado. Who knew all these years later that avocado would play such an important role in my weight loss as it represents the perfect keto-friendly food. Thanks Mom! I still have not adopted her avocado-pit-on-the-window-sill-tree thing but hey, there’s still time!
If somehow you are new to avocados, here is the secret to a perfect ripe one. When you get one home, if its it is still hard and green, leave it on the counter for a day or two until it darkens a bit and feels a little soft but still firm when pressed on. Then put it in the fridge which will slow down the ripening process keeping it perfect until you are ready to eat it. Another way is checking under the stem. This part of the avocado holds a sneak peak for what’s going on under the skin.
Another favorite low carb option, if you can find it, is from Cindy’s Kitchen. These are some of the cleanest bottled dressings on the market and will be found refrigerated among the veggie isles as they are the freshest on this list. Many of these have zero carbs so enjoy them often.
You can’t go wrong with these easy week night shortcut dressings. Then again there is always the simplest solution – A really good EV olive oil and a squeeze of lemon on some arugula, salt and pepper, avocado, toasted pine nuts, shave some fresh fennel and parmesan and in minutes your perfect keto side salad is table ready.
I have been part of the brussel sprout camp for some time now. If you have not yet joined I can understand as they do need to be prepared well – not under cooked…. not overcooked and properly seasoned. I have come to love a roasted brussel sprout so I thought I would venture out of my norm and try some salad variations and this spinach and brussel sprout salad has become a keeper at our house. Hope you enjoy it as well.
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp Fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp honey
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbs water
- 3 tbs EV olive oil
- 1/4 lb Brussel Sprouts
- 3 cups of fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh avocado
- 1 tbs toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbs toasted sliced almonds
- 1/8 cup of fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup Manchego cheese or Parmesean cheese - shaved
- Fresh ground salt and pepper.
- On a wooden cutting board make a paste of the garlic and salt with the edge of a large chef knife.
- In a small bowl add the garlic paste, mustard, vinegar, pepper and wisk.
- Add the lemon juice, honey, lemon zest and wisk again.
- Drizzle olive oil while wisking
- Add water and wisk again.
- Slice the brussel sprouts thin - leave out the bottom stem
- In a large salad bowl add the spinach and brussel sprouts.
- Add seeds, nuts, and blueberries.
- Toss salad with dressing.
- Add fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.
- Add avocado.
- Add cheese.
My Infamous Caesar Salad has been know by family and friends for decades. I experienced my first table side Caesar Salad back in the late 80’s at La Vie n Rose on the Berlin Turnpike. I was blown away… asked the waiter for the recipe and have been mashing forks in a large Vermont hand-carved wooden bowl ever since. More recently,
I found a great version in Unionville CT, made table-side by a native New Orleans Restauranteur transplant named Matthew at his upscale restaurant of the same name.
His version was slightly different but amazing all the same. I always enjoyed our conversations as I watched his moves carefully in order to improve my skills. By chance, Lisa and I were there for dinner the night after Matthew passed away suddenly. He will be missed by many who enjoyed his stories and his creole inspired cuisine. As an homage to the former owner, his 2 large Wooden Caesar Salad bowls still adorn the new space refreshed by Cure which has recently opened in its place.
Matthew dazzling with Bananas Foster.
So my recipe below comes from years of study and has been adapted for a lower carb lifestyle and a quicker and creamier execution as we make this recipe weekly. If you’re lucky, you will have some extra dressing for a lunch Caesar salad the next day. I usually add some prosciutto di parma for my leftover lunch version.
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 7 anchovies
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1.5 tbsp mustard powder ( dijon mustard is also an option)
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg yolk - coddled
- 1/4 cup EV olive oil
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1.5 cups grated and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 10 fried pork skins (chichamarrones)
- 2 hearts of romaine
- In a mini-prep processor add the garlic, anchovies, ground pepper, and lemon juice.
- Blend until well combined.
- Add oregano, mustard powder, worcestershire sauce, and egg yolk.
- Blend until well combined.
- Drizzle olive oil and then avocado oil slowly as you blend until creamy.
- In a large bowl - tear lettuce, by hand only to large bite sized pieces. Discard green tops.
- Grate 1 cups of the Parmigiano cheese. Shave the other 1/2 cup - set aside.
- Toss the salad with dressing until well coated.
- Add the grated Parmigiano - toss well.
- Sprinkle the red wine vinegar and toss again.
- Add the shaved Parmigiano - toss well.
- Add the croutons - fried pork skins - break them each in 2.
- Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Serve right away.
- To make it a meal on its own add sliced grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or steak.
- Extra dressing may be enough for a lunch salad the next day - so nutrition info per serving may be off (high) a bit.
This is one of my favorite go-to appetizers once Tomato Season arrives. In general Tomatoes are higher in carbs than other veggies (I know.. it’s really a fruit) so I added Arugula to this Caprese dish so I can go lighter on the tomatoes. No matter how lower-carb I am trying eat, there is no way I’m not eating local tomatoes at the end of summer when they are at their best here in New England.
Another version of this salad has very good store bought variety of small tomatoes on the vine from Backyard Farms. I roast them at 350 degrees for 10-15min. The results… freakin awesome!
- 1 large ball Burrata Cheese
- 1 large Heirloom Tomato
- Fresh Arugula
- 5 leaves Fresh Basil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Good E.V. Olive Oil
- S & P - fresh ground
- Toss Arugula with Olive oil to lightly coat.
- Lightly season with fresh ground Salt and Pepper.
- Slice Tomato thick and place several slices on top of the Arugula.
- Lightly season with fresh ground Salt and Pepper.
- Slice cold Burrata ball in half and carefully place cut side down on the tomatoes.
- Chiffonade Basil and sprinkle on Tomatoes and Burrata.
- Lightly season with fresh ground Salt and Pepper.
- Drizzle Olive oil over Burrata and tomatoes.
- Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar.
- Serve with 2 forks and knives and enjoy!
- - Be sure to keep the the Burrata in the fridge until you are ready to make this as it is easier and less messy to cut in half when cold.
- - If you are not Keto-ing today, you can serve this app with some ciabatta toasts.