I don’t remember my mom making a lot of salads when I was growing up. I remember some iceberg lettuce here and there on our plates and potatoes cooling in the fridge for potato salad, but that is about it. I do, however, remember the apple salad. Not because I ate it–it has mayo in it! (Yucky! ha ha) But because it was unusual to have anything other than potato salad and cole slaw in terms of “salads.” I quickly discovered that my high school sweetheart (Ray Baby–now my husband of almost 37 years!) loved salads of any kind, and he really loved my mom’s apple salad. So being the dutiful wife, I learned how to make it.
It isn’t hard, but it is unique. Every time I take it anywhere, people are always surprised by the combination of peanut butter and mayo–but in a good way. People really like this salad!
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Low Carb, Real Foods, and Family-Friendly Tips
1. Apples are a moderate carb fruit.
(I know…people say they are high carb, but only if you are keto.) They have 12-18 net carbs per medium apple with skin (depending on which variety). And they are packed with nutrients. If you have read my article about diluting flavors you don’t like, you might have learned about The Power of Dilution for flavor. But the same thing is true in diluting carbs–that is, having a moderate carb item within low carb ingredients. And that is what this dish is all about. While the entire carb count is not low, per se, when dividing it among four servings, a person on a low carb diet can usually handle half of a medium apple carb-wise. Be sure to leave the skin on your apples as that 3-5 grams of fiber per apple can be subtracted from the carb’s gross carb count to reduce its net carb count.
2. Low carbers can also use low carb apple substitutes if they like them.
For example, some people like to use zucchini or jicama. I’ve heard the jicama takes on the sweetness of other ingredients (not sure how the zucchini would work–though people do use it as an apple pie sub) and is a good trade out for apples. Maybe give it a try? (Let me know if you do…we are not low enough in carbs to make that switch; we enjoy apples every week in our Daily Intermittent Fasting and moderate carb lifestyle!) People also use jicama to replace potatoes, but my personal favorite is turnips. (Read about my potato substitute experiment here and try turnips in this amazing potato casserole recipe!) Here’s the scoop on jicama compared to apples:
- 1 cup cubed apple with skin–17 carbs-3 grams fiber=14 net carbs
- 1 cup cubed jicama—11 carbs-6 grams fiber=5 net carbs
3. Raisins are obviously high in carbs (all carbs–concentrated natural sugar!).
If you are trying to reduce carbs, you can omit them entirely. Another option is lower sugar Craisins, which are lower in carbs than raisins are.
4. Natural peanut butter and homemade mayo
In terms of real food, this dish is doable with natural peanut butter and homemade mayo or your choice of a healthier store bought mayo.
5. Not a mayo fan?
If your kids are not mayo fans, but you want to make this a family dish, you could try half mayo and half whipped cream cheese or sour cream. The former would have less bite and would help dilute the mayo taste.
6. Obviously, you can lower the fat by using a lighter mayo, which most low carbers and real food peeps won’t want to do.
However, I make this lower in carbs, calories, and fat by using peanut flour in place of the peanut butter. (I had to add a splash or two of almond milk to the dressing also, which is better in terms of calories and fat than adding more mayo.) My husband really liked it made my “lighter” way–and he sometimes isn’t such a fan of the peanut flour. (I use this easy-to-find version)
- 2 medium apples, unpeeled and chopped into small cubes
- Lemon juice
- 2 tiny serving boxes of raisinsor Craisins
- ½ to 1 rib of celery finely chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
- Peanut Butter Dressing
- 3 TBSP peanut butter+
- 3-5 TBSP mayonnaise
- Pyure granulated or drops to taste (or use a cup-for-cup sugar substitute)