Cactus Club Salad

I love loaded salads, meaning salad-for-dinner dishes packed with colours, tastes and textures. This salad, inspired by the Raincoast Greens salad at West Coast restaurant chain Cactus Club Cafe, definitely fits the bill. It’s so flavourful and filling, thanks to the hard-boiled egg and avocado (the original is even topped with chicken breast or salmon fillet). Click here for my no-fail “recipe” for making perfect hard-boiled eggs.

For more stellar salad ideas, I highly recommend Cooking Light Big Book of Salads: Starters, Sides and Easy Weeknight Dinners. It features over 150 delicious, easy recipes; gorgeous photos; and tutorials (cooking fish, chopping avocado, etc.)

Meg’s “Cactus Club” Salad

This makes a big salad for one (it’s for dinner, after all!), so tweak the quantities for more servings.


  • 4 cups baby greens (I like romaine.)
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbs crumbled part-skim feta
  • 3 Tbs Sweet and Spicy Pecans (recipe below)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large serving bowl, gently toss greens, tomatoes, strawberries, pepper and feta.
  2. Top with pecans, egg and avocado.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar. Pour over salad. Serves 1.

Per serving: 566 calories, 46 g fat (12 g fat, 0 g trans), 456 mg sodium, 12 g fibre, 14 g sugar, 17 g protein

(Don’t be alarmed by the amount of fat in this salad; it’s mostly heart-healthy fat from the avocado, pecans and olive oil. Also, dietary fat doesn’t turn into body fat (unless calories consumed from fat exceed one’s energy output), and we do need some saturated fat to keep cell membranes strong and to keep hormones balanced. Fear not dietary fat!)

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Adapted from this Low Carb recipe, these pecans are soooo addictive. Aside from a super salad topper, they make a great snack, but try to stick to a handful as pecans are higher in calories and fat. (Cayenne pepper, or rather its compound capsaicin, has been shown to boost fat burning, though, if that’s any consolation!)


  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4-5 packets stevia (equal to 3 Tbs sugar)
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt


  1. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil and add cayenne.
  2. Add pecans, spreading them out in a single layer; cook over medium heat. Stir every 30 seconds.
  3. After 2-3 minutes, stir continuously until pecans just begin to brown. (Remove pan from heat if oil starts smoking before this time.)
  4. Stir in stevia, cinnamon and salt, and then pour into a glass bowl. When cool, adjust sweetener and salt to taste.

Per serving (3 Tbs): 160 calories, 17 g fat (4 g sat, 0 g trans), 58 mg sodium, 2 g fibre, 1 g sugar, 2 g protein


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