Or…How to Build Your Own Salad
How often do you make a salad into a meal? It’s a delicious and nutritious way to use up leftovers and incorporate variety into your lunches and dinners. Make it right and it’s super nutrient-dense as well as filling. Think beyond lettuce, tomato and cucumbers and get creative.
Here’s how in 3 easy steps:
1. Start with a big bowl of leafy greens (any kind). Add in more veggies– whatever you like and have available. I always have shredded carrots in my fridge so I put those on top along with half an avocado. For today’s lunch I added leftover broccoli and peas from last night’s dinner. Yes, cooked veggies go great on a salad! I love kimchee and just got a jar yesterday so on that went too. It’s fermented cabbage and other veggies and spices…sooooo good! Fermented foods are your friends. Probiotics! Great for digestion.
2. On to a few heartier ingredients. These are what make your salad a meal because they will provide calories, protein and fiber to fill you up. I usually add a leftover grain like brown rice or quinoa and some beans, lentils or a veggie burger. Sometimes grilled tofu. Sometimes not. Leftover baked sweet potato is a perfect salad topper too! See what I mean– things you never normally think to put on a salad can work wonders. Peek around the fridge and use what you’ve got.
3. And finally, the dressing! I often top my salad with salsa. This is especially good when you’ve got avocado and black beans in there; it makes it all Mexican-like. Other times I am more in the mood for a little balsamic vinegar-tamari-maple syrup combo. If my meal is low in fat then I’ll make a tahini dressing or peanut sauce to balance it out with some healthy fats. Sometimes I’ll save my fat allotment for one of my nutty desserts.
Balance is key with making a salad meal. I like to try to have some green leafy veggies, some orange-colored veggies, some higher carb items (like grains or sweet potato), some protein (like beans) and some fats (like tahini). This combination of veggies, complex carbohydrates, protein and fat is a blend that works for most people to make them feel full. If you’re a meat-eat try tuna, shrimp, chicken or steak for your protein. Build your salad in a way that makes you feel your best!