May is when much of the country gets the first real hints of summer hot days and longer, warmer evenings. More often than not, salads replace soup and hot, cooked vegetables at lunch or dinner.

The "fusion" dressing for the salad below uses Asia's wasabi powder, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and miso combined with the West's carrot juice, vinegar, mayonnaise and garlic. The result is a dressing that melds East-West flavors, creating a distinctive flavor complementary to any combination of leafy greens.

Carrots, which contain potent antioxidants, lends a taste of sweetness to the dressing and, as a topping to the greens, add a flourish of color and a satisfying crunchy quality to the salad. Miso, which is now found in most large supermarkets, is a soybean paste that has been used in Japanese cooking since the seventh century. It contains small amounts of isoflavones, phytochemicals that have potential cancer-fighting properties.

This salad is particularly well suited as a first course with plenty of eye appeal. Light, tasty and good for you, too, it can also be served for lunch with a piece of hearty whole-grain bread and a slice of cheese, or it can just as easily be served alongside a meat or vegetarian entr�e for dinner. At any time of day, it suits the season, and is pretty and good for you.

Mixed Greens with East-West Fusion Dressing

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup carrot juice
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet or mellow white miso
  • 1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large bag mixed salad greens
  • 1 small carrot, finely shredded
  • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise

Directions

  1. In a blender or mini-food processor, place carrot juice, vinegar, mayonnaise, garlic, miso and sesame oil. Blend until dressing is well mixed and smooth. (You can also make the dressing using a whisk and a bowl, starting with the miso and garlic and slowly blending in the juice before mixing in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Divide greens among four salad plates. Arrange one-quarter of carrots on top of greens. Arrange 4 tomato wedges around the greens, like points of star.
  3. Transfer dressing to a small bottle that has a tight-fitting lid with, ideally, a small hole to drizzle the dressing, as with a plastic squeeze bottle. Just before adding dressing to the salad, shake vigorously to combine and drizzle over each salad.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
70 calories,
2.5 g. total fat,
.5 g. saturated fat,
11 g. carbohydrate,
2g. protein,
3 g. dietary fiber,
300 mg. sodium

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Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Vegetable, 1/2 Fat

AICR