Making a salad is not a difficult task. Anyone can throw together a few green leaves, fruits and veggies and call it a salad. But there’s a reason why salads get a bad rap. Unfortunately, many leave a lot to be desired. With a few additions here and there, however, you can transform your bland-tasting salad into a spectacular, satisfying side dish!
If you ever had a salad that left you wanting more, you’re not alone. Many salads consist of limp leaves, sad tomatoes, and overly sweet salad dressings. That’s not at all what a salad should be. By including the right amount of fresh produce, elements of texture, color, and a refreshing salad dressing, you will love salads so much, you would start eating them more!
If you really like Romaine of Iceberg lettuce, you can use it, but nutritionally, dark-colored leaves are the best choice. They have more flavor and are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Choose 3 cups of either kale, baby spinach, arugula, or mustard greens. If you don’t mind the taste of raw cabbage, you can add 1 cup shredded cabbage. Try baby cabbage, as it’s sweeter and less bitter than large cabbage heads.
To make your salad exciting, it’s important to add colorful fruits and vegetables. When adding veggies like broccoli, bell peppers (capsicum), carrots, or tomatoes, you can choose to roast it beforehand or eat it raw. It depends on personal taste. One cup should be enough.
Fruits add sweetness, so make sure to add ½ cup of fruits like apples, berries, peaches, grapes, or pears. You can add a sprinkle of dried fruit, but remember this will increase the sugar in your salad!
For a bit of creaminess and a healthy dose of good fats, add a bit of avocado.
To make a salad satisfying, it must have protein. But that doesn’t mean high in fat. Add lean protein like lentils, beans, boiled eggs, salmon, tuna, grilled chicken, or feta cheese! Aim for ½ to 1 cup of meat, lentils, or beans and ¼ cup cheese.
Besides protein, you also need carbohydrates. But we don’t mean the fattening crouton kind. Rather choose whole grains like brown rice or whole grain tortilla chips. Aim for about ½ cup.
Now for texture! Again, croutons do add texture, but rather go for healthy, nutritious options like almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons. You can also include ¼ cup roasted chickpeas or baked edamame.
Overly rich, mayo-based salad dressings are so last season! Try a lighter, flavorful balsamic vinaigrette. It has just enough sweetness and acidity from the balsamic vinegar to round off the salad. You can add a touch of honey if you want it to be sweeter. If you do miss the fat, try using yoghurt and blended avocado dressings.
Try to choose fruits and veggies that are in season. It’s more cost efficient and will taste better too! Now you have all the info you need to build the perfect salad!