Plant-Based Proteins Power Up To-Go Salads

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This Cranberry Wheat Protein Boost Salad provides a real meal deal.

On the go without time for brown bagging it? Try these energy-efficient salads: I recently discovered the PowerMeal salad--lots of leafy greens, plus protein and organic ingredients - from sesame seeds to dried cranberries to soy oil. When I needed a take-out lunch, rather than grab a sandwich or a power-bar to tide me over, I've tried one of Earthbound Farm's new complete salads. It fits my weekday vegetarian regime but the only problem is which one to choose? Without having to think about getting all the nutrition I need to keep up with my full-plate (so to speak) - Earthbound Farm has figured it all out. Lots of local supermarkets now offer salads-to-go, but most contain meat, seafood or cheese as the source of protein and most often aren't organic. The PowerMeal salads are a great alternative. I'm a sucker for so-called "superfoods," so appreciate that I get a balanced meal packed with antioxidants, fiber and nutrition -- plus two of the three options are gluten-free.

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The nuts and seeds add crunch to the greens and the touch of sweet is nice with the savory flavor. Though it seemed like more than a generous portion that I could easily split, I did manage to polish off the entire clamshell container (post-consumer recycled PCR). Light yet satisfying, I warn to use the dressing sparingly to taste. They have made me rethink composing salads at home and Treehugger provides lots of interesting recipes. Here are the PowerMeal options:

• Blueberry Quinoa: organic baby spinach and quinoa, sunflower kernels, dried blueberries and balsamic vinaigrette (9 grams protein and 6 grams fiber).
• Cranberry Wheat: organic mixed baby greens, whole-grain bulgur wheat and wheat berries, garbanzos, dried cranberries (5 grams protein and 7 grams fiber).
• Tomatillo Black Bean: organic baby lettuce, black beans, corn, five-seed, stone-ground corn strips and green tomatillo vinaigrette (6 grams protein and 6 grams fiber).

Though I'm not big on packaged foods, these work - and are delicious. A big selling point is convenience and the plant-based protein. Earthbound Farms turned me on to PowerMeals and now I'm a fan. Introduced to stores in September, the salads run about five bucks each. I've had to ask my grocer when they'll be back on shelves again, so try Whole Foods (nationwide, outside California), Gelsons, Sprouts and Sunflowers Farmers Markets through the Southwest.

More on vegetarian alads:
White Bean Salad with Radish, Walnuts and Wild Leeks
Avocado Salad with Ginger and Peanuts
Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad with Mint

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