Balsamic Pear, Avocado, and Portobello Salad

So I have been gluten-free for two weeks today. And dairy-free for… 10ish days. I really wanted some shrimp scampi from Costco, so I decided to see how dairy went. Plus, a lot of chocolate has dairy in it and this girl needs chocolate.

OSG balsamic salad 1

This is my first gluten-free, dairy-free post, despite my dietary change for the past two weeks. If you want to see what my current speculation is on my stomach problems, you can read that at the end. For now, the best salad ever. 

OSG Balsamic Salad Edit

I had heard only AMAZING things about the Oh She Glows cookbook. And while I probably shouldn’t even be posting this recipe since it’s in her book, we will consider this a freebee or an act of publicity or something for her, because after you try this, you will have to buy her cookbook. HAVE TO. It’s that good. Seriously.

OSG balsamic salad 4

Before you write this post off thinking, “Psh, it’s just a salad. Salads are so January 1st and I’m over New Year’s resolutions,” think again. This dressing has applesauce in it. APPLESAUCE. It’s thick and delicious and sweet and tangy and unreal. It also has the combination of warm sautéed red onions and portobello mushrooms and cold crunchy pears and soft avocado. It’s like sensory overdrive in your mouth. Speaking of mouths, mine is watering. Yours?

OSG balsamic salad 3

WARNING: The following information is long-winded and discusses my gastrointestinal system. While not graphic, it might bore you, so you can skip to the recipe if you want. Okay, so if you are interested in my current hypothesis on what’s wrong with my stomach – let me give you a quick debriefing because I probably haven’t talked a lot about it. At least, not in a long time. So last January (wow, a year ago), I did FODMAP after having negative results for ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s. FODMAP is a “diet” for people with IBS. Each letter stands for something that can upset their stomach, and all it did for me was starve me. Being a FODMAP vegetarian is no fun. So I made it about .. I don’t know, 10 days? Max. I also tried gluten-free and dairy-free last year for maybe 10 days, as well. Maybe a week. And I was still having a lot of GI problems, so obviously it just wasn’t worth it. Well, gluten can stay in your system for a couple weeks or longer {or something like that – people with celiac will begin healing immediately, but I don’t know about people with gluten intolerance}, so giving up gluten for 7-10 days doesn’t really do much. If I had an intolerance, the 7-10 days probably wouldn’t have mattered. Dairy, however, I probably would’ve noticed immediate results. Okay, okay, getting to the point. So the point is that before, I’ve never lasted long on these attempts for making my stomach feel better. BUT, after 2 weeks and still having problems, I started analyzing the fat content of my foods. I’m not really sure why, but I remembered that you can divide the Calories from Fat from the Calories to see what percent of the food is fat. And a lot of things I have been eating are high in {healthy} fat. Larabars. Peanut butter. Cashew Clusters from Costco. Kind Bars. Etc. So when they are 50-75% fat, if not more, they’re really upsetting my stomach. So, I tried a day without peanut butter. Just a few almonds on my salad and that was all. AND I FELT GREAT. So, my current hypothesis {yes, I just used that word. I am about to have a masters degree soon and need to sound like it, right?…} is that fat triggers gastrointestinal problems for me. Also, small meals may be beneficial for my belly but that’s another trial and day.

PS: This is with my new camera (!!). I am still playing with it, so bear with me. Also, isn’t Carib the cutest?!

Balsamic Pear and Avocado Salad
From the Oh She Glows cookbook

Salad:
2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, largely chopped
2 ripe pears, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
Mixed greens

Balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

1. In a container or bowl, combine red onions and portobello mushroom slices. Pour vinaigrette over and allow to marinade for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes so that all the veggies are coated.
2. Heat saute pan over medium-high heat and cook mushrooms and onions for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until slightly tender.
3. Assemble salad by topping roughly chopped mixed greens with pear and avocado chunks, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and remaining balsamic vinegar. Makes about 2-3 servings.

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