There was a scene in last Friday's episode of "Friday Night Lights" where Tami Taylor is at the supermarket, heckling the butcher for not having her meat ready. The mother of one of the boys on the football team sees her, and asks if she is on the low carb diet (it always makes her grouchy too). I laughed at the quip, yet somehow forgot all about it the next day when I was preparing my lunch -- a broccoli crunch salad from my recent favorite source of foodie inspiration, 101 Cookbooks.
While I love salads and regularly exceed the capacity of my vegetable crisper in my fridge, I still need carbs. As in, I can't function without them. I get dizzy, irritable and lose my ability to focus on simple tasks and inane conversation. Diana-off-sugar is not a pretty sight (nor sociable companion).
Even though I am fully aware of my physical and social limitations when I eat a meal without some sort of simple or complex carbohydrate, I somehow thought the apples in the broccoli crunch salad I made on Saturday would be enough sugar to keep my head from exploding. It wasn't like this was an all-leaf, no substance affair. With all the fiberlicious broccoli, slivered almonds, toasted shallots, apple chunks, tempeh, and a light almond butter-based dressing, I felt confident that I would be able to overcome the absence of a whole grain with all the other hearty ingredients.
I was wrong.
Even though the salad was filling and loaded with texture and flavor, two hours later I turned into a cookie monster. Desperate for something to dull the pain in my head, I devoured a big fat chocolate chip pecan cookie from Sweet Lady Jane. A cookie that wasn't even all that and a bag of (chocolate) chips.
I consider myself "schooled." Bad things happen when carbs disappear. Next time I make this heart-healthy salad, I'm chowing down on a meaty hunk of bread too.
Broccoli Crunch Salad
(Adapted from recipe on 101 Cookbooks)
1 1/2 cups lightly steamed broccoli florets
1/2 a small Gala apple, chopped into bit-sized pieces
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup pan-fried crunchy shallots
1/8 a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 package of Lightlife Soy Tempeh, marinated in soy sauce and pan-fried until crisp
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon almond butter (I used Whole Foods brand)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Drop of honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon hot water
Sea Salt (to taste)
Cut shallots into thin slices. Heat pan to medium high heat, and cook shallots in olive oil and salt for approximately 15 minutes (or until crispy). When finished, remove from skillet and lay out on a paper towel to crisp up more. Use same skillet to cook soy sauce-marinated tempeh pieces.
Meanwhile, lightly steam broccoli in steamer or pot of boiling water. As soon as it loses its raw edge, rinse with cold water. Toss broccoli in bowl with shallots, red onion, apple, and tempeh.
Prepare dressing by whisking together almond butter, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, sea salt, and garlic. Add the hot water and continue whisking until light and creamy. Pour the mixture over the salad ingredients, toss, and serve. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.