We all know how healthy a bowl of salad can be and how easy it is to up your intake of greens. So what makes salads so uninteresting or rather how can we make that bowl of salad fun, nourishing and healthy? Read on...
Welcome to my weekly blog post! We continue to talk more around culinary nutrition and this time the focus being on salads.
“By getting innovative with our ingredients we can turn any salad into a nourishing bowl of goodness."
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary "a salad is a mixture of usually cold ingredients mixed with vegetables and seasoning and served with a dressing". When I think of a salad - I look at it as an opportunity to enjoy everything in one bite! That is all tied together with a dressing and the possibilities are endless. Here is a quick anatomy of a salad that I had once shared on my Ig.
1. Start out with the raw ingredients- Lots of greens!
From lettuce to arugula, to spinach to microgreens! Staring with greens will ensure you are working in tons of fiber!
2. Add an element of Grains.
When you are exploring with grains, get creative and go beyond those croutons. Grains like quinoa, couscous, wild rice , bulgur , farro are some great grains to experiment with.
3. Next up we add the proteins.
Again this can come in the form of lentils and pluses- (moong beans, black beans, chickpeas) , sprouted beans and or tofu for plant based proteins and the meats and eggs.
4. Other add ons for texture
When having everything in a bowl, the different layers of texture add so much more
to a meal and stimulate various parts of our sensory taste buds. Adding texture in the form of grilled veggies- ( roasted veggies add an excellent burst of texture to a boring salad) or mixing up flavor profiles of sweet and citrus or sweet and salty by adding in seasonal fruits- can take your salad eating experience to a whole new level.
Some other ideas to add in some texture is in the form of healthy nuts that can add a boost of essential fats to a salad.
And lastly , the element that ties it all together- the dressing. Store bought dressings are often times high in trans fats, added sugar, high fructose corn syrup and sodium. The easiest and best way would be to keep it simple with easy ingredients available right in your kitchen. With so many other flavor ingredients added to the salad, we don't want our dressings to be overpowering. We want it to be a simple means to enhance all the different flavors. Mostly a citrus element with some olive oil is perfect to tie it all together. Here are some salad dressings that I often tend to use on my salads.
Lemon juice mixed with olive oil
Greek yogurt whipped with some seasonings
Citrus juices - like orange, grapefruit, blood orange whisked with some olive oil and seasoning.
Cilantro and mint chutney
Avocado with some lemon juice
Herbed dipping oils.
Salads can be made fun and interesting and can be totally customized to fit your flavor profile! They don't have to be a boring unappetizing bowl of greens! They can be perked up, spiced up totally made into a complete meal for you and your family to enjoy.
What might be your next salad endeavor? Keeping this anatomy in mind, what kind of a salad would you spin next?