When we reach those 100-plus-degree days in Arizona, the last thing that tempts the taste buds is a heavy meal. While it may be a “trend” elsewhere, it’s been a mainstay to the eating habits of Valley residents for … ever.

According to the Meatless Monday initiative, which encourages Americans to forgo that form of protein for that particular day each week, going meatless can reduce one’s risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

For days that aren’t “meatless,” using substitutes of chicken or fish instead of beef — which are mainstays at Pacific Rim restaurants, like Sapporo — can only benefit one’s health that much more. As I mentioned in my last article, sushi can help protect the nervous system, lower cholesterol and help prevent mental illness, among many other benefits.

A light lunch also isn’t light on the good things your body needs; it just doesn’t include excess carbs that will cause that tired feeling and eventual weight gain.

With that in mind, there are a plethora of light, healthy dishes that can be made throughout the summer, which are perfect for those weekend barbecues or work lunches.

Case in point: Sapporo’s Spinach Gorgonzola Salad. We include chicken that may, of course, be left out or substituted with salmon, tofu, etc. It’s a very simple dish that can either be a great starter or the main course itself.

Spinach Gorgonzola Salad


Chicken Breast 1 – 6 oz. piece
Spinach 4 oz.
Fuji Apples (julienne) 2 oz.
Gorgonzola (crumbled) 2 oz.
Candied Pecans 1 oz.
Salt/Pepper (for marinade) To season
Olive Oil (for marinade) ½ oz.
Balsamic Dressing See recipe below


1.    Season chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper, grill and small dice.
2.    Gently toss all ingredients together with dressing, and serve in chilled, large, white salad bowl.

Balsamic Dressing


Balsamic vinegar 1 cup
Fresh Garlic (minced) ¼ cup
Canola Oil 3 cups
Brown sugar ½ cup
Dijon Mustard 2 oz.


Mix all ingredients in a blender, slowly adding oil last, on medium speed (to emulsify).

Not only is this dish light and healthy, but the preparation is minimal.

And for those mid-week workdays, when the chefs at Sapporo make this dish for you, it’s something that won’t make you feel sluggish or want to run to the nearest Circle K for a 5-hour energy drink. The best part being? (Aside from that happy, healthy feeling). Eating light at lunch can allow for a guilt-free happy hour.

For more information, menus, hours and location of Sapporo, visit sapporoscottsdale.com  or call (480) 607-1114.