Thursday, May 3, 2012

my less serious tips: on balanced and filling salads

I make damn good salads - if I do say so myself.

Today's tips: how to create a balanced, filling, and exciting salad, my less serious style.

Figure 1. A spinach and romaine salad with roasted Brussels sprouts, grape tomatoes, carrots, an over-easy egg, white wine vinegar, and Sriracha.

Tip #1. Start with a mound of greens. Ignore the concerned faces of your friends and family as you pile unreasonably large amounts of leafy greens into your bowl. Fact is, greens are great for you and they fill you up. My favorite choices are spinach, romaine, green cabbage, and spring mix.

Tip #2. Add more vegetables to your vegetables. More vegetables create a more exciting and nutritious salad. I love adding leftover roasted vegetables (I try and save some from the night before) to bulk up my salad. Other favorites include tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, and carrots. If this step requires you to transfer your salad to a mixing bowl because it has grown so large, do not be afraid.

 Figure 2. A spinach and spring mix salad with grape tomatoes, raw green cabbage, yellow bell peppers, chopped dates, peanuts, hummus, and balsamic vinegar.

Tip #3. Add a protein source. If you want your salad to have any staying power, you must add a protein source. My favorites include veggie burgers, beans, nuts, hummus, eggs, cheese, avocado, tofu, and nutritional yeast. Without protein, your salad is nothing.

Tip #4. Add something that makes you happy (fun/fat/crunchy source). Your salad should make you happy, and for me that means adding something I am craving and usually includes something with crunch. I try and also to make this a source of healthy fats and/or protein. My favorites include nuts, cheese (goat/feta), and dried fruit.

 Figure 3. A spinach salad with grape tomatoes, leftover roasted broccoli, red onion, chickpeas, and salt & pepper cashews tossed in white wine vinegar, salt, and dried Italian herbs.

Tip #5. You don't always need 'dressing'. Salad dressing is so last year. Instead, I prefer adding something that can do double-duty as a source of protein and/or healthy fat (hummus, runny egg yolk) or something with low/no calories (vinegar, dried herbs, Sriracha, ketchup, salsa) because I would prefer to add more toppings instead. My favorite 'dressings' are vinegar (balsamic or white wine), hummus (globs or thinned with milk), runny eggs, ketchup (pairs well with veggie burgers), and Sriracha (pairs well with eggs).

Previous my less serious tips:

21 comments:

  1. That's what I call a salad. I'm sorry, when I go to a restaurant, I am NOT paying 20 bucks for a bunch of leaves on a plate.

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    1. ah! i have that same frustration. they are always too measly for me!

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  2. Now THAT is a salad! You could teach the restaurants of South FL a thing or two my dear. =)

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    1. haha! i would if i could doll!

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  3. LOVE the beastly salads. I always mentally roll my eyes every time a restaurant tries to pawn off a pile of lettuce + 2 cherry tomatoes as a salad. Try again, please! They need to serve ones that look more like yours - especially the middle one with the dollops of hummus!

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    1. completely agree with this. i order them when i'm out - because i want the veggies - but i ALWAYS wish they were bigger and had more components.

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  4. Your salads all look excellent (especially the one with the broccoli - I love roasted veggies on cold greens) but I disagree with you on the dressing. Good salad dressing makes or breaks a salad for me!

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    1. thanks! i agree - warm veggies on a salad are really great. we will agree to disagree on the dressing part. :)

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  5. Love the "happy" tip :D I'm a fan of huge salads for lunch, and I can't remember the last time I've used an actual dressing. Straight balsamic vinegar, hummus or mustard and nutritional yeast are my favorite toppings. And now I have got to try sriracha on a salad, because it's just darn amazing on everything else.

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    1. :) salad for lunch is my very favorite. and yes, try the sriracha it is fantastic!

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  6. Runny yolk on salad = best dressing ever.

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  7. I love this post! I am all about exciting and delicious salads but I find I get into slumps periodically and I need a post like this to recharge. I am bookmarking it! xx

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  8. Thanks for this post Sara! Some days I find myself craving a nice salad, as a meal, and end up not following through because I feel like I won't be full or satisfied. But with these techniques I'm sure I can be! I love Tip #4. Would adding M&Ms or a chocolate source be too outrageous?? :p.

    OH! And my mom made the quinoa dish the other night! It was great!

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  9. well it's 7:23 am and now i want a salad. great tips, and your salads look and sound delicious!

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  10. Sriracha as a dressing sounds awesome! I usually just go for olive oil or my regular ole' dressing, I should try to mix it up more.

    Have a great weekend :)

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  11. Great post! Thanks so much for this! :) I'm not a salad making pro like you, so this is very helpful!

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  12. Uncovered your article extremely fascinating certainly. I truly really enjoyed studying it and you simply make very some excellent details. I will bookmark this web site with the long run! Relly great report.

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