Co-worker/friend/husband: "Where do you want to go to eat?"
Me: "Somewhere with a good salad."
Them: "What, are you on a diet or something?"
Can’t a girl eat a salad without everyone assuming it’s a ploy to lose weight? I love salads. I mean I really love salads. In fact, eating salads is one of top daily health habits. I find that a healthy and veggie packed salad revitalizes me and instantly makes me feel better. Plus - I think they’re pretty darn tasty.
For some reason, salads tend to get a bad rap. It’s my guess that most people just don’t know how delicious and satisfying salads can really be. I’m not talking about iceberg lettuce and some shredded carrot – I’m talking about hearty greens, loads of veggies and portions so big I have to eat them out of mixing bowls.
Here are my top tips for how to really love salad:
Mix up the veggies: a salad made of romaine, tomato, cucumber and onion will get old real fast if that’s all you ever eat. MIX IT UP. Changing up your greens and veggies constantly is the easiest way to make sure salads keep you interested and satisfied. For a base try romaine, kale, collard, arugula, spinach, spring greens or a mix. For veggies remember there’s so many more choices than your basic salad veggies. Think cabbage, broccoli, roasted sweet potato, green onion, radish, green beans and more. Switching it up also ensures you get a wide variety of nutrients.
Chop chop: switching up the consistency of your salads is another great way to keep things interesting. Dice, slice, spiralize, shred…if I find I’m getting bored with salads I will pull out a different prep tool. I use my food processor to grate veggies like carrot and cabbage. The spiralizer is great for thin veggies and the mandolin slices them all to perfection.
Beef it up: just not with beef (well for me). If you tend to think of those wimpy side salads served at restaurants think again – a salad can easily be a satisfying meal in and of itself. Add in roasted sweet potato, beans, quinoa or brown rice, nuts, fruits and mega veggies to give your salad some life and staying power. Check out Gena’s post on how to make a meal sized salad.
Switch up dressings: Store bought Italian dressing is the worst. Seriously. Get creative and fresh with homemade dressings. Grainy mustard, olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite fast dressings. I also love a tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and nooch combo. If you’re feeling real veggie hungry you can also make dressing out of vegetables like zucchini, carrot and tomatoes. Just google “easy homemade salad dressing” for limitless possibilities.
Dress it right (take a cue from Kale): I will never just pour some dressing on the top of a salad and call it a day.I learned this trick while working at a pizza joint in college – tossing the salads thoroughly with tongs really made a difference in taste. I get in there and really toss it all up and sometimes massage the dressing in to make sure it coats every piece. With kale you can massage ahead of time, but with most greens I’d wait till right before you eat.
Incorporate your favorite foods What’s your favorite meal? Why not turn it into a salad?! I love eating fajita salads, sushi salads, hummus salads, guacamole salads and more. Recently I fell in love with a simple Vegan Cheezeburger Salad as a way to enjoy a lighter and more nutritious version of one of my favorite foods.
Make an at home salad bar – think you don’t have time to make a salad every night? Well don’t worry! Spend a little extra time on the weekend and build an at home salad bar so you can throw together nutritious salads for lunch every day during the week.
What are your tips for a top salad experience? Hope this post inspires you to up your salad intake!