Before winter finally overtakes us, we need to enjoy the warmer days and eat as many salads as we can. Before we know it, we’ll be back to soups and stews. But it’s safe to say that after a while, salads can become a bit boring. Whether you eat salads as a side, or a go-to lunch meal, here are a few ways to make them more exciting!
Instead of using the usual green leaves (like Romaine lettuce), opt for spicier greens like arugula or watercress. They provide color, a bit of crunch, and just enough of a bite.
Make your salad more nutritious by adding a can of drained chickpeas to it. Combine with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and some feta cheese. Finish off with a seasoning of fresh black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Salads often lack protein, so to give your salad a boost, add a can of tuna together with chopped boiled eggs. Other ingredients that go well with these proteins are black olives, tomatoes, and a drizzle of mustard vinaigrette. If you don’t have fresh protein items on hand, you can also use lentils (canned or dried), or black beans.
Keeping a few jarred basics in your fridge or pantry is a great way to perk up a boring salad. Look out for jarred red peppers, anchovies, or olives. Whenever you feel your salad needs a little something extra, you have a punch of flavor right on hand!
If you’re tired of the same old salad every week, try adding an Asian flavor to it. Use toasted peanuts, cooked prawns, and fresh coriander together with a salad dressing made with rice vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce.
Don’t forget about grains. They make your salads more filling, gives it texture, and also provide you with added fiber and nutrients. Try grains like quinoa, bulgur wheat, or brown rice. Add in some chopped fresh parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Fruits aren’t just for fruit salads; they provide just the right level of sweetness. Add chopped apples, pears, melon, and even strawberries for added nutrients, sweetness, and a pop of color!
If you feel your salad still lacks crunch, why not add some nuts. Walnuts and almonds are especially popular in salads, but don’t let your creativity be limited. Some folks add candied peanut brittle (now THAT’S a way to get your kids to eat salads), while others opt for the less-than-healthy option of pork rinds (although we don’t recommend adding too much of this for obvious reasons).
It’s best to stay away from store-bought salad dressings. Often times they’re high in saturated fats, sugar, and sodium. And with so many DIY recipes, there’s really no reason why you can’t make your own. Process an avocado with olive oil and a splash of water to make a green dressing, or create a simple vinaigrette with Dijon mustard, olive oil, and vinegar. Adding avocados or a type of olive oil dressing adds healthy fats to your salads, providing a bit of body to an otherwise flat-tasting salad.