Why Your Salad Sucks: 5 tips for building a better salad

 Salad background of fresh mixed salad ingredients. Stock Photo -  1497699

Need a little help pimping your salad?

I am always trying to convince meat eaters (or even some vegetarians who live on lots of starch) that a big salad can be a satisfying meal. Yes, there are some of those fast food chains that sell big salads, but have you looked at the list of ingredients??!!  Lots of bacon, boiled eggs, fried chicken, fried onions, and fatty dressings that can leave you with a 1000 calorie meal!  You would probably be better off having a burger.

The only way to ensure that you are getting the healthiest meal possible, you are going to have to become more acquainted with your kitchen and the grocery store.  That is really the best way to know what is going into your food.

So you say salads are boring?  Here are some tips on pimping your salad:

  • Skip the iceberg lettuce.  This variety of lettuce is mostly water with zero flavor, and very little fiber.  It’s not that iceberg lettuce is bad for you; it’s just that there are so many other varieties of lettuce that have a much higher nutritional content and are much more flavorful.  If you are really hardcore, you can try using kale or collard greens!  Here is a wonderful video on growing lettuce in your home or apartment.
  • Experiment with new veggies.  There is more to a salad than just lettuce, tomato, and maybe a little cucumber.  Try adding okra (my favorite), fresh corn off the cob (uncooked), zuchini, jicama, sprouts (gives your body SOOOOO much energy!), mint or other fresh herbs.  Visit some of your local ethnic grocery stores and spend some time in their produce section.  You are sure to find some veggies you may have never seen before.  Ask one of the workers how to prepare it.
  • Go for color.  Use the greens as a base.  What other colors do you like?  Add a little red or orange pepper (much sweeter than the green variety), purple cabbage, or even some fresh blueberries.
  • KISS = Keep It Simple, Silly!  Don’t try and douce your salad with too many flavors.  Trying picking a theme for your salad.  Do you want Asian flavors?  Try mixing spring mix salad leaves with some bok choy, cashews lightly coated in ginger and agave, scallions, tomatoes, and a homemade orange/ginger salad dressing.
  • Salad dressing is the key to a tasty salad.  I spent several years looking in stores for the best salad dressings (does that make me weird?).  My favorite store brought brand is Annie’s Goddess Dressing (I swear I could bathe in this stuff…).  However, if you stop and read the labels of many other dressings, you will see that they are full of processed sugars, soybean oil (often GMO), and preservatives.  I learned that I can very easily make my own salad dressing in about 3 minutes.  Here is the recipe for my own Maple Mustard Dressing:

Maple Mustard Dressing

* measurements are approximate

2 Tbsp of dijon mustard

2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp of maple syrup

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

sea salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Put all the items in a small, leakproof container.  I use Rubbermaid’s Easy Find Lids in the smallest size available.
  2. Close the lid and shake.
  3. If you like it spicy, try adding a little cayenne pepper.  For a more savory flavor, add some chopped up rosemary leaves.

You can double or triple the measurements if you want to make dressing to last you 2 or 3 days.  You can also add more or less of some ingredients to suit your own tastes.

So what’s your favorite salad recipe?

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2 responses to “Why Your Salad Sucks: 5 tips for building a better salad

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