Substitute this for a starchy meal centered around bread, rice or pasta, which can be snooze-inducing. / Renee Comet/USA WEEKEND
When you need a real power-lunch, one that will satisfy you but keep you alert and on your toes, there is no better way to go than a salad packed with lean protein and crisp vegetables.
Why lean protein? A meal packed with starches (like bread, rice and pasta) can trigger the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. Protein blocks that effect, which leaves you sharper and more energized. Salads containing poultry, seafood, beans and lean cuts of meat are also light and easy to digest, so they prevent the nap-inducing effects caused by a big, heavy meal.
This fresh salad of crunchy snow peas, succulent shrimp and peppery radishes, tossed in a deeply flavorful Asian-style sesame dressing, hits just the right note. It is quick and easy to prepare, full of exciting flavors and textures, and has all the ingredients to keep you clear-headed and content. Enjoy it with a slice of whole-grain bread or a few brown-rice crackers. Power on!
Succulent Shrimp, Snow Pea and Radish Salad with Sesame Dressing
• 1¼ pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
• 4 cups snow peas (12 ounces)
• 6 radishes, thinly sliced into half moons (4 ounces)
• 4 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1/3 cup rice vinegar
• 1 Tb. canola oil
• 1 Tb. toasted sesame oil
• 1 Tb. grated fresh ginger
• ½ tsp. salt
• 2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
Bring a large saucepan of water, fitted with a steamer basket, to a boil. Put the snow peas into the steamer basket, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the snow peas into a bowl of ice water briefly to cool. Drain and pat dry.
Add the shrimp directly into the pot of boiling water. Return the water to a boil, cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, then drain. Plunge the shrimp into a bowl of ice water until cool, then drain and pat dry.
Slice each shrimp in half lengthwise to form 2 thin rounds. Cut the snow peas on a diagonal into ½-inch diamond shapes, discarding the end piece. In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp, snow peas, radishes and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, canola oil, sesame oil, ginger and salt.
Right before serving, pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss until they are evenly distributed.
Yield: 4 servings. Per serving (1½ cups): 280 calories, 7g carbohydrates, 32g protein, 13g fat (1g saturated), 3g fiber, 215mg cholesterol, 510mg sodium
RECIPE REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER, THE TAUNTON PRESS INC., FROM THE FOOD YOU CRAVE: LUSCIOUS RECIPES FOR A HEALTHY LIFE BY ELLIE KRIEGER. COPYRIGHT BY ELLIE KRIEGER.