OK, I think we needed a break from desserts. I don’t actually eat those desserts myself and do try to stick to a fairly healthy diet during the workweek. As spring time is approaching, my taste buds for salad really get going. I really, really love salads, but I can’t stomach them much in winter when the veggies aren’t super fresh. Luckily, the produce is getting better and better every week. Here are some tips on what I think makes a good salad.
Making an excellent salad:
- Start your base off with anything other than iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is so boring and is mostly water. I love spinach, mixed spring greens or even romaine lettuce. Ban the iceberg!!
- Top with various cut up veggies. I like broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc. One tip is to cut the veggies into small pieces. If you have kids that aren’t crazy about veggies they likely won’t like big hunks of broccoli. But when cut up, they aren’t as daunting and a small bite isn’t so bad.
- Add some cheese. A little goes a long way, but it is a nice component. Shredded cheese is easy. Feta or fresh mozzarella are my super special favorite cheeses.
- Protein. If you are only having a salad for lunch I like to double up the protein. Try one hard-boiled chopped egg along with meat or beans. I like to use chicken or turkey as toppings.
- Keep it fun. Add some sunflower seeds, a few croutons or nuts. In season avocado is yummy and creamy while giving you a healthy fat.
- Keep dressing limited. Many dressing (I am looking at you Ranch) are filled with bad fats. Try a vinaigrette or homemade dressing where you control the fat.
- Top with fresh cracked black pepper or. Mrs. Dash.
- If you like pickles, add them to your salad. They are a great sour and salty addition.
My biggest tip would be to prep! Cut a bunch of veggies at once and keep in containers for when you need a salad. It is a pain to cut everything up, but you will thank yourself throughout the week when it is easy to just grab what you need and go.
One tip for your meat – make it yourself. Deli meats can be kind of slimy and uncertain. I like to use these chicken tenders (you can get these at a fairly affordable price at Sam’s Club or on sale at Krause’s) and season them to my liking. These are covered in spicy mustard and baked. Some other ideas would be Mexican spices, Indian spices, grilling spices, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, garlic and on and on. You can have a new flavor every week. I just bake these up and chop for future use. I like them on the salad cold, but you could reheat in the microwave and top on your salad.
So basically, once you have all these delicious and fresh ingredients on your salad – you won’t even know it is a salad! There are greens under there, I swear! Enjoy – spring IS coming.