Sunday, October 23, 2011

Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Salad Recipe

Six days ago nothing about this salad would have appealed to me.  Even if I had seen it featured on a two-page glossy spread in my favorite magazine or watched it prepared by a celebrity chef on the Food Network, I would not have had any inclination to fix Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Salad.  Yesterday, however, my mouth was literally watering as I prepared it and as I savored my first bite, I was thinking that this might be one of the best salads I've ever eaten.

My transformation occurred because during the five days prior to my Gouda salad experience, I was only eating "Fast Forward Meals" as outlined in the book Cinch! by Cynthia Sass.  I first found out about this eating plan in an interview conducted by one of my favorite bloggers, Snack Girl.  After skimming the blog post, I immediately reserved a copy at my local library.  Last Saturday, I picked up the book, read it over the weekend, felt inspired, and started the plan on Monday.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn one way to feel energetic, have a healthier and disease free body, and maintain their optimum weight while preparing and eating tasty meals and snacks.  As I was reading Cinch, I was thrilled to discover that Sass has created a way of eating that involves real food (no artificial sweeteners or 'diet food'),  is based on current health studies, includes many tempting recipes, and is a lifestyle change instead of a diet.

Before reaching the point where I could appreciate my Gouda salad, I ate exactly what is recommended for the "Five Day Fast Forward" portion of the program.  Among other things, I learned to enjoy plain yogurt, look forward to a cup of unsweetened tea, and consumed lots of raspberries.  I also discovered what it feels like to be hungry and eat in order to satisfy that hunger.  As the end of the five days, my allergy symptoms had been drastically reduced, my on-again-off-again back pain was gone, I had boundless energy, and my skinny jeans fit because I had lost nine pounds.  Yes, to sum it up, I felt euphoric!  It was like my taste buds and sense of smell had been reset, I felt lighter and not bloated, and I was sleeping more peacefully.  Now I'm not a doctor and I don't eve pretend to be one on TV, but these are the benefits that I experienced.

Now I am following the Cinch core plan.  I am eating recipes that are included in the book, such as the one for Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Salad, and also creating other tasty snacks and meals following the Cinch! "do-it-yourself 5 piece puzzle".  I wake up hungry and am satisfied by my meals and snacks.  Last night my sons and I curled up to watch a movie and instead of popcorn with M&M's, I prepared myself a recipe from the book for "Cranberry Parmesan Herbed Popcorn".  It was scrumptious and fulfilling in a way that my normal salty snacks never are!  Who knew?

Yesterday as I was preparing this salad for my lunch, I prepped the ingredients in anticipation of having it again the next day.  Now I am looking forward to slowly caramelizing the onions in olive oil until they are transparent and them adding them to my pretty bowl filled with crisp romaine that has been dressed with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.  I am anticipating my first bite which will include the contrast of the warm onions with the creamy Gouda and the flavors of the freshly ground pepper and balsamic vinegar which will explode in my mouth.

On the cover of Cinch!  it states, "conquer cravings, drop pounds, and lose inches."  To that list I would add "experience the fullness of preparing and eating fresh food".  I am grateful that I discovered this book.  It has reinforced concepts that I already knew about health living, has taught me new research-based principles, and has added to my collection of scrumptious recipes such as, "Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Salad".  I must return my Cinch! to the library but will be purchasing a copy to add to my personal cookbook library.    Thank you to Cynthia Sass!

Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Salad Recipe
     closely inspired by Cynthia Sass in Cinch!

1 1/2 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 cup sliced white or yellow onion
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 ounce smoked Gouda, diced
freshly cracked pepper
1 serving all-natural whole-grain cracker
  1. Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent and caramel colored, stirring often.  Add a dusting of cracked pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a salad bowl with romaine lettuce.  Sprinkle with cracked pepper, lemon zest, and Gouda pieces.
  3. Whisk or shake together balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
  4. Top the salad with the warm caramelized onions.
  5. Serve with crackers.
  6. Enjoy!


  1. Hi Heidi,
    I just love a great salad and your Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Salad looks delicious. I will try it soon! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  2. Wow! This looks yummy! Thank you for linking up to my party!