Salad. You know that it’s good for you and that you should be eating it more often, but I bet you think it’s unappetizing and unexciting. Well, it doesn’t have to be! Here are some easy guidelines to create delicious salads that are anything but boring!
First and foremost, you have to use lots of veggies. Personally, I prefer a veggie to lettuce ratio of about 60/40. My tried and true favorite salad vegetables are:
Mushrooms – white, crimini, they are all delicious
Carrots – a little crunch that isn’t a crouton!
Onion- but keep it minimal, you don’t want to scare people away
Bell peppers – red, orange or yellow are bit sweeter than green
Beets – give them a chance, they are pretty good
Avocado – mashed up and mixed with a little bit of oil or vinaigrette creates a creamy dressing that is quite tasty, or just slice some and put it on top
Now let’s talk protein. People often forget to include protein in their salads, but this is a mistake. Not only does it make any salad more exciting; it helps turn a simple salad into a more filling meal. Not to mention, getting plenty of protein is especially important for vegetarians. Try adding any of these options to your salad:
Tofu – plain or marinated
Chickpeas – probably my favorite addition to salad
Cheese options. The point of salad, at least for me, is to have a healthy meal that is light on carbs and fat. Don’t go crazy with the cheese, however a little bit can go a long way with these delicious additions:
Goat cheese – honey or herbed are both great
Shredded cheese – any kind you like, but I usually choose cheddar
Lettuce comes in a variety of flavors. I tend to enjoy a mix of at least two of these types:
Butter – slightly sweet
Romaine – crunchy
Arugula – leafy
Iceberg – 99 cents at Ralph’s!
You can also find pre-packaged bags of mixed greens or spring greens, which combine various lettuce types. Try out some options and see what suits you.
Next comes dressing. There are so many different options out there. Creamy ranch, vinaigrette, you name think of a combination, it has been made. But in my house, there is a super top secret dressing recipe that guarantees a delicious salad. Lucky for you, I’m going to share!
You will need:
Grated Parmesan cheese
A lemon (a fresh one is SO important, lemon juice will just not be as good. Trust me.)
This recipe will cover about two heads of romaine lettuce, which feeds about 4-6 people.
Start with about ¼ cup of olive oil. Add about 2-3 small cloves of garlic, pressed. Sprinkle the mixture over your salad, mixing well. Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese on next. Finally, squeeze ½ a lemon and drizzle to taste. I sometimes use a whole lemon, depending on the size of the salad, and how lemony you want it. Enjoy!
I also wanted to share an alternative to a traditional lettuce based salad, one of my new favorite dishes, and super easy to make. It’s my variation on a caprese salad.
You will need:
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Cut the tomatoes in half.
Mix with the mozzarella pearls.
Coat with a small amount of balsamic vinegar, about a tablespoon.
Sprinkle on kosher salt and pepper. The kosher salt is important, it’s a very different taste than regular salt. Devour!