When you think of eating salad, what do you imagine? For many, it may be a traditional “house” salad with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers topped with your favorite dressing. Perhaps there are croutons and onions and maybe you remove a veggie or two.
Let us together reimagine what a salad is. Salad is defined as a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.
So what are those other ingredients and what can we do to elevate our salad game this spring?
Change up the base: There are various different greens you can use for the base of your salad. From kale to spinach and even different types of lettuce like red leaf and bibb. Maybe you love arugula. Whatever you do, try switching up the base of your salad to keep things interesting.
Whip up the dressing: Thankfully it is easier now than ever to find salad dressings free of preservatives, dairy and added sugar from companies such as Tesse Mae’s and Primal Kitchen. Yet, a dressing you whip up right at home can create an explosive flavor that will make you crave salad ALL THE TIME. Some of the recipes below have dressings you won’t want to miss.
Don’t skimp on the fat: Whether you add nuts, seeds or an avocado, adding fat to your salad is a must in our opinion. Your brain will love these additions.
Bulk it up with protein: Protein is a great addition to your salad. Whether it is a hard-boiled or fried egg, grilled chicken or a nice piece of steak, protein can help you feel full longer, especially if you are moving your body.
Warm it up with extras: Adding cooked veggies, roasted potatoes or warm proteins can help make your salad more appealing on a chilly day. Also, don’t forget the classic pairing of soup and salad.
Think outside the veggie drawer: Most of us have staple veggies we always lean on for salads. Imagine what it would look like to add seasonal and new to you veggies to salads throughout the year. A harvest salad in the fall may have pomegranate and artichoke while a summer salad could include basil, beets and figs. A great way to do this is by visiting your local farmer’s market throughout the year or signing up for a CSA.
At Home Waldorf Salad
Slivered almonds or walnuts
Chop all ingredients together and place them in your favorite salad bowl. Top with your choice of dressing. We recommend homemade apple cider vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below). Great seasonal additions can be summer bell peppers or craisins in the fall.
Seasonal Greens with Tangy Garlic Dressing by Jessica Meinch
Juice from one lemon
1 clove fresh garlic - minced
3 TB olive or avocado oil
Salt and pepper
Bunch of any mixed greens (Kale, Watercress, Lettuce, Arugula, etc)
Whisk together dressing. Finely chop kale and massage with dressing. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Add other greens and serve! There are many other vegetables that go great with this dressing, including tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and olives. Jessica loves to sprinkle on some hemp seeds too!
Avocado and Lime Kale Salad by Tori Carrasco of Carrasco Catering
Juice from half a lime
Bunch of Kale
Tear kale into bite-sized pieces while removing stems. Massage kale with olive oil and sea salt. Add the avocado and mix until evenly distributed. Squeeze in half a lime or more to taste. Top with your favorite vegetables!
Spinach Fruit and Grilled Protein Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette by Samantha Coffin
Seasonal Fruit (spring strawberries, summer raspberries, fall pomegranates, winter citrus)
Bunch of spinach
Your choice of nuts and seeds (pepitas and walnuts are some favorites)
Grilled protein (turkey, chicken, steak or even salmon)
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp mustard powder
3/4 cup healthy oil (such as extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil)
1/4 tsp dried herb of choice (basil or cilantro are great options)
salt and pepper to taste
Cut up fruit and vegetables, tear spinach if not baby spinach and grill protein. Make the dressing by mixing together everything except oil. Add the oil in a steady stream to fully incorporate it with the vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprouts and microgreens are a great addition to this salad.
Kitchen Sink Salad by Dr. Erin Stefanacci
This is a fun salad to make because you can get CREATIVE! I literally take whatever I have in my fridge that seems like it will go well together and put it in a bowl! I top with EVOO and balsamic vinaigrette or other healthy dressing and sit down to enjoy!
Sample Kitchen Sink Salad
Orange Bell Pepper
Mt. Athos Green Olives