A light and tasty lobster salad

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By Lisa McRee for Oneforthetable.com

There is no place I'd rather be in the summer than the breathtaking coast of Maine, and nothing I'd rather eat, any time of year, than Maine lobster.

If you can't get to Maine, here's a way to experience the region's magical flavors (and this year's record setting lobster harvest) in a healthy and delicious way: Skinny Lobster Salad.

Unlike the salads and rolls you'll find at the lobster stands that dot the roadsides of Maine, this one has no mayonnaise, which lets the natural flavor of the sweet lobster come through and drastically cuts the calories and fat.

(On its own, lobster is a fairly low-calorie and nutrition-dense food, with just 145 calories, less than a gram of fat and 29 grams of protein per cup of cooked meat. Mayo? About 900 calories and 80 grams of fat per cup!)

By adding chopped celery, green onions, green peas, lemon zest and fresh herbs, this lobster salad also has more fiber, color and texture, making it not only healthier but also much more beautiful and flavorful than any lobster salad you've had before.

So whether you're in Maine this season or just want to pretend that you are, enjoy this easy and delicious dish. Once you've had it, you'll never wait in line at a roadside stand again!

Skinny Lobster Salad

This recipe yields almost 6 cups of lobster salad and each cup has about 150 calories.

4 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped (see note)

3/4 cup celery, chopped fine

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons good olive oil

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed in salted water and patted dry (see note)

Salt and white pepper to taste

Mixed greens, or sliced tomatoes, cucumber and avocado (optional)

Mix together the chopped lobster, celery, onions, herbs, lemon zest and lemon juice, and olive oil. Gently fold in peas and add salt and pepper to taste.

To make a 300 calorie lunch or supper, mound two cups of the lobster salad on a pile of mixed greens with some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on the side.

You can also add 2-3 slices of avocado. Yes, it's another 50 calories, but because avocados have heart-healthy fat, great taste and a rich texture, it's worth it.

Notes

--If you're in New England, many markets that sell lobsters will steam them for you. To get 4 cups of lobster meat, I ordered 6 "soft shell" lobsters (which you can crack open with your hands) that were 1 1/4 pound each and cost about $6 dollars apiece. Hard shell lobsters will cost about 2 dollars more per pound, and they take a little more work to crack. However, they do have more meat inside so you'll probably need only 4 or 5.

--The easiest way to thaw the peas without overcooking them is to put them in a microwave-safe bowl with salted water and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Drain and pat dry before adding to the salad.)

(Lisa McRee is a former network anchor who developed a way of cooking that has helped her keep extra weight off for good called The Skinny. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com)

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