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How To Build A Better Salad

April 28, 2011

When a lot of people hear the word “salad” they immediately cringe.

Salads are diet food.  Salads are boring.  Salads are depriving.  Salads are nothing more than bowls of lettuce. 

Not the way I make ’em, honey!

There are so many ways to makes salads yummy and enjoyable.

And believe it or not, the secret is creativity.  I love tossing cooked warm veggies on top of raw veggies.  I also love adding other unexpected things like fruit, sweet potatoes, or fried eggs.

Mix and Match

Here’s your virtual salad bar! It’s a list of ingredients that I often choose from when building a salad.

Spinach
Romaine lettuce
Kale
Mixed greens
Chickpeas
Black beans
Black Olives
Beets
Artichokes
Goat cheese
Dried cranberries
Dried cherries
Dried apples
Raisins
Walnuts
Pecans
Almonds
Seeds
Dates
Sweet potato
Asparagus
Tomato
Onion
Cucumber
Peppers
Carrots
Apples
Strawberries
Mandarin oranges
Blueberries
Pineapple
Mango
Salmon
Shrimp
Grilled chicken
Quinoa
Tuna
Egg (hard-boiled and fried)
Tofu
Mushrooms
Sweet peas
Avocado
Pickles
Salsa
Hummus
Butternut squash
Zucchini
Broccoli

Healthy Tips

  1. To keep salads healthy, in particular at the salad bar, you must be conscious of how much dressing you’re using and the quality of the dressing (no fake stuff on those beautiful veggies!).
  2. Go easy on the cheese, bacon bits, croutons, and even dried fruit and nuts.
  3. Choose spinach, kale, or mixed greens rather than iceberg lettuce.  They are more nutritious.
  4. Add some protein.  Fish, grilled chicken, eggs, beans, and tofu are all great options.
  5. Try to add as much color as possible.  The more color on your plate, the more vitamins go into your body.

Do you like salads?  What are your favorite foods to add to them?  As I’m sure you’ve all figured out, any salad is perfect to me if it is topped with salmon.

Thanks to everyone who wished me a speedy recovery!  I’m still battling a slight headache, but I do feel a bit better.  It must have been all of your good thoughts. 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

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17 Comments
  1. April 28, 2011 3:29 PM

    I love salads! I’ve actually liked them since I was a baby! My mom tells a story about me whining for something on her plate when I was little and she gave me everything except the salad and she could ‘t figure out what I wanted, she finally gave me some salad and I was happy! I love southwestern salads with corn and black beans!

  2. April 28, 2011 5:39 PM

    Love, love, love yummy salads like the ones you have pictured! I especially love stone fruits like nectarine and peaches when they’re in season, roasted veggies, and hummus on my salads. Yummy!

    • April 28, 2011 7:50 PM

      I totally forgot about peaches in salad. Grilled peaches in salad are amazing. Mango is awesome too. The possibilities are endless. 🙂

  3. April 28, 2011 7:27 PM

    Hey great post! I love salads and eat 1 everyday for lunch. My co-workers always comment on my lunch and must think I’m depriving myself. I always look at a salad as a blank slate and try and get as creative as possible. The more add on’s the better!!

    My favorite salad is definitely a simple green salad with grilled chicken on top. Always great!

    • April 28, 2011 7:48 PM

      Grilled chicken is awesome on salad. 🙂 Salad has such an unfair reputation!

  4. April 28, 2011 8:34 PM

    I looove salads! I like to use spinach or mixed baby greens as my base – and I like to add in carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, red onions, chick peas and sunflower seeds -with balsamic vinaigrette! (I could have gone on forever with the veggies…)

    • April 30, 2011 8:22 AM

      I know how you feel! I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to stop myself from listing out all the veggies. 🙂

  5. April 29, 2011 12:48 AM

    Thanks for sharing! I love your photos and all of your ideas. I love salads too. My children are a little more picky about what goes on their’s so I usually leave all the toppings in separate little bowls and let them choose what they want to put on their salad. Whenever we have guests over they love it! I always have tons of options and sometimes they are a little overwhelmed by all the choices. It makes it fun and everyones turns out a little different. You’ve given me some extra options I hadn’t thought of. Thanks!!

    • April 30, 2011 8:22 AM

      That’s a great idea! I am hosting a Mother’s Day lunch at our house and think that it will include a salad bar. 🙂

  6. April 29, 2011 12:50 AM

    Do you have any recipes for Quinoa? I’ve just started experimenting with this and my family doesn’t really like it plain. I love it and would love to dress it up a bit.

    • April 29, 2011 7:48 AM

      On my recipe page, I have Sushi in a Bowl and the Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. I’ll post more recipes with quinoa very soon. I love it! 🙂

  7. April 30, 2011 8:25 AM

    Salads are the best! I actually have been eating salads twice a day! I just love them so much!!!!

    I love adding a crunch on salads too!

  8. May 2, 2011 7:39 AM

    I love dusting a salad with sunflower seeds and seasame seeds.
    As for protein I cook tofu with fresh chili, basil, and spanish onion… served on a bed of spicy rocket leaves with a drizzle of olive oil – delish!

  9. May 3, 2011 11:02 AM

    Thank you so much for this post! I love fresh fruits & veggies but have found salads to be somewhat intimidating, and usually go for a straight-up greens-and-tomatoes mix in a hurry. But your post got me thinking and inspired me to be more creative — so I made a strawberry & spinach salad the other day for lunch! 🙂 I am a huge fan of adding goat cheese to a salad, plain or flavored.

    • May 3, 2011 11:03 AM

      You’re so welcome!! Thanks for linking to it on your site. 🙂

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