Fourth of July Recipe: Clean Eating

The Fourth of July usually announces itself by the aroma of burgers sizzling on the grill and a showy collection of patriotic flags unfurled from virtually every porch in the neighborhood.
The smell alone can be enough to derail the best of intentions for not only those living with type 2 diabetes- for whom healthy choices make all the difference when it comes to managing their diabetes.  but also those who are watching their weight as a way to keep diabetes at bay.
In my house, we do both. My husband is a type 2 who biked off pounds to help control his disease, while I have a family history of diabetes that makes me more mindful of my weight.
Neither one of us is big on depriving ourselves. My husband is a southerner who grew up on fried everything, unless it was a vegetable enhanced with a little bacon fat, while I am from Wisconsin, the land of a million delicious cheeses. Needless to say, we love food.
Lucky for both of us, we are also avid gardeners, and never met a veggie we did not like. I spend a lot of my spare time in the kitchen creating innovative ways to make vegetables tastier, and my most recent concoction is a salad that’s perfectly suited for a Fourth of July fete.
The interesting thing is that the idea came to me in a dream – like grilled maraschino cherries and braised pork loin with rosemary beurre blanc before it – which leads me to believe my sleeping self wishes she were a chef.
This one, we ate last night with grilled steaks, but it could stand alone as a light lunch option or would be a colorful side to burgers, chicken or fish. You can also make a big batch, so there’s plenty for the family Independence Day pot luck.
This salad is rich in vitamin C, but it offers the crunch and smokiness of bacon, making it a crowd pleaser, even as it stays within the realm of healthy eating.
1 large bunch broccoli crowns, separated into 1-inch pieces
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
½ large red onion, minced
6 slices turkey bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the broccoli spears and season with salt. Toss to coat.
Place in a single layer on a baking sheet or pizza pan and roast in the oven until the broccoli begins to brown and caramelize in places, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the diced turkey bacon in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to blot excess oil.
Add vinegar and sugar to the olive oil in the pan, and stir until well blended. (If there isn’t much olive oil remaining after cooking the bacon, add a bit more. 
Chop the broccoli spears and toss with the minced onion and bell pepper. Drizzle with warm vinaigrette and add crispy bacon and toss again.

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