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In Season: Lettuce

If you overindulged at the holiday table — and honestly who didn’t, then January is the time to
make dietary amends.

So bring on the salads!

Salads became the dieter’s best friend for a reason: All salad greens are fat-free, sodium-free and super-low in calories, packing 10 calories or fewer per cup.

But all lettuces are not equal. The darker green the leaf, the more nutrients you’ll generally get. Pale iceberg, for instance, has a very high water content. Therefore, though it stores beautifully and its mild crispness appeals even to people who don’t much like vegetables, it doesn’t provide many more vitamins than you’d get in a sheet of tissue paper.

But two cups of dark-green romaine lettuce –– about the amount in a good-sized Caesar salad — provides two grams of fiber, 40 percent of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and 140 percent of vitamin A, plus small amounts of calcium and iron. With all the gorgeous greens in the store this winter, you can make a different salad every day of the week.

Take inspiration from our greens refresher course.

Best known as the backdrop for traditional Caesar salads, the crunchy leaves of romaine make it a salad all-star. Its neutral flavor and sturdy texture call for a bold, assertive dressing, rather than a lighter vinaigrette.

Red Leaf and Green Leaf
Softer and lighter in texture than romaine or iceberg, but not as buttery as Boston, these are among the lightest of lettuce varieties, and work best as the base for a salad mix, paired with crisper lettuces like romaine. An acidic dressing will complement the slightly bitter flavor.

The spicy, peppery, almost bitter flavor of arugula is usually too much to take if it’s the only ingredient in a salad, but it’s a great accent tossed into salads of milder mixed or baby greens. Sometimes called rocket and popular in Italian cuisine, arugula also can be cooked, perhaps sautéed briefly in a bit of olive oil and minced garlic.

The narrow, crisp leaves – that look almost like elongated bullets – can also be used as spears to spoon out dips, or as cups for composed salads. White, with pale yellow or yellow-green tips, endive turns rusty quickly once cut. Serve immediately after cutting, or hold it briefly in water spiked with lemon juice until mealtime.

Beautiful burgundy radicchio adds a splash of
color to a salad mix. Among the most bitter of salad greens, it adds a piquant flavor to a green salad, but most diners will find its flavor too strong to eat alone.

Also called butter lettuce, because it’s so tender it practically melts in your mouth, Boston lettuce has a mild, subtle flavor that holds up well with light or fruit-infused dressings. It’s also great for using in trendy Asian lettuce wraps.

Spice It Up With Flavor
Head south–of-the-border tonight with our spicy salad and asian salad combo!

South-of-the-Border Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro, minced


4 cups green leaf lettuce
1 avocado, chopped
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels, cooked
1 tomato, chopped

In a jar, combine garlic, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, salt and cilantro. Shake jar until dressing is well combined. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, avocado, corn and tomatoes. Drizzle lime dressing over salad.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 372, Fat: 35 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 304 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 2 g

Asian Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sugar


1 lb flank steaks
1 tsp ground ginger
4 cups red leaf lettuce
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets, blanched till tender, chopped
1/4 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced

In a jar, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and sugar; shake jar until well combined.

Season steaks with ground ginger. Place steaks on broiler, in the oven and broil until desired doneness. Once steaks are done, slice across the grain into 1/2-inch thick pieces. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, red onion, broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper and steaks. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 309, Fat: 13 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 526 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 35 g

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