Salad Ideas: Make this tasty, low carb meat salad tonight.

Meat salad just sounds right, doesn’t it? While salad stands for everything that is lean, austere and nutritious, meat is all about indulgence, flavor and (dare we say) delicious fatty drippings. Putting the two together gives you the Laotian/Thai dish called larb. Made of ground meat spiked with citrus, garlic and chilies, I think it should be a staple recipe in every house in America—especially those containing busy athletes. It’s healthy, delicious and tastes complicated while being only-one-pan easy.

Related: 5 Easy Paleo Lunch Options Perfect for Your Brown Bag

The only tricky thing is finding lemongrass—I nabbed it in the produce section in a squeeze tube. (If you really can’t find it at all, you can try subbing some lemon juice and lemon zest, but add incrementally and taste often.) And if you don’t have the deliciously umami fish sauce in your house, go get some immediately. It’s what gives that je ne sais quoi to Asian dishes. The next time you cook Asian food, put a few drabs of fish sauce in and you’ll see what I mean. But don’t go crazy with it—it’s a potent little number.

While most of the time I think garnishes are silly flourishes reminiscent of the fussy 1985 food scene—do NOT neglect them in this dish. The shredded cabbage, carrots and crisp iceberg lettuce are absolutely necessary (plus, you know, veggies!). This is a perfect cold dish for a hot summer evening that still is protein-rich. Best of all, you can make all the parts ahead of time—so it’s waiting when you get home from the gym.

Low Carb Larb
Makes six generous portions, and leftovers keep well frozen in a Ziploc bag.

  • 1 ½ pounds ground pork
  • 1 Pound ground turkey
  • 1 Teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 Red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ Cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ Cup lemongrass paste (If using fresh, remove the outer leaves and top few inches and mince finely. Even easier, give it a few whirls in a small food processor.)
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • A big handful of chopped cilantro
  • Shredded red cabbage and/or shredded carrots
  • Red pepper flakes or Asian hot sauce, to taste
  • Iceberg lettuce, in leaves for a rollup, or chopped for salad.

Warm the coconut oil in the bottom of a high-sided skillet and crumble in the ground turkey and pork. (If you’re using a non-stick skillet you can skip the oil.) Brown until the juices start to flow, then add onion and sauté until the meat is fully cooked and the onions have started to soften. Add the broth, fish sauce, lemon paste and lime juice, cooking until the mixture is fragrant and the meat is cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage and/or carrots, and red pepper/hot sauce, if desired.

This is a versatile dish, which you can serve cold over chopped iceberg lettuce or in lettuce cups as a rollup. Keep it warm and serve it over rice for a dinner feel. You can also sub ground chicken for the pork or do the whole thing with beef. Do what you want—but whatever you choose, we guarantee you’ll never look at salad quite the same way again.

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