Time for another Reader Request post! I received this comment the other day from one of my readers:
I have a favor (okay, maybe a challenge!). I am trying to eat more salad, but get really bored with the same toppings and dressings. I’m nervous about doing homemade dressing…you might have to help me on this one!
Salads are a GREAT topic!
I think we can all agree that not all salads are created equal. They can range anywhere from the bleak, iceberg-based appetizers at fast food joints, to fried-chicken and ranch-covered fat-bombs, to fresh, organic mixed green and vegetable creations.
Obviously, I favor the third option when it comes to my own salads.
I’m a firm believer that salads should ALWAYS start with a nice base of leafy greens and raw vegetables! I also believe that we should eat salads every. single. day. Humans thrive on leafy greens and veggies! But just because you’re eating salad every day doesn’t mean it has to be boring. In fact, salads are a great opportunity to get creative!
Here’s where I like to start–> What are you craving?
Whatever flavors you’re craving–be it Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean, etc.– anything can be turned into a delicious and satisfying salad.
For example, last night I made a vegan burrito for Austin.
A brown rice tortilla filled with refried beans with green chiles, homemade Mexican rice, guacamole and salsa.
As I was preparing the beans with green chiles, all of the sudden I wanted a Mexican-flavored meal myself! Sure, I could have eaten a burrito of my own, but I don’t really enjoy eating tortillas all that much. What I really crave is the filling and toppings! (That’s where all the flavor is.)
So, I took all of the “good stuff” from Austin’s meal– the refried beans with green chiles, guacamole, and salsa– and plopped it onto a heaping pile of leafy greens!
Mexican craving solved, and I didn’t feel weighed-down, like I normally would from eating a heavy burrito. Win-win!
As another example, let’s say you’re craving pizza…
This salad totally did the trick for me!
My favorite part of pizza is the toppings, so it makes sense that they would taste just as good on a pile of greens, rather than a dense crust! I simply topped my leafy greens with crumbled goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes (preferably the kind NOT packed in oil– just soak them in water to soften them up!), and red bell peppers. Since I was already getting a dose of fat from the cheese, I kept my dressing really simple: just a mix of balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard and a couple drops of liquid stevia. Some fresh basil would have enhanced the pizza-flavor even more!
All together, this salad was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Pizza-craving, solved!
See how easy it can be to get creative with your salads?
Other fun salad topping ideas include:
Ripe avocado. I like to throw an entire avocado on my greens, and mix it up so it gets “creamy.”
Roasted veggies (broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, etc.)
Sauteed greens, like spinach or kale, for a nice contrast of temperature and texture
Falafel topped with my Tahini-Dill dressing. Holy yum, that’s going to have to happen soon…
Shredded veggies, which add fun crunch and texture! Shredded carrots, cabbage and beets are my faves. 😀
Raw walnuts and raisins (crunchy + sweet combo)
Crumbled Veggie Burger (homemade, or a high-quality store-bought patty, like Sunshine Burgers)–> top with your favorite burger toppings!!
Chicken, Beef, or Fish (highest-quality possible), and try to keep your salad properly combined by avoiding croutons, avocado, nuts and dried fruits.
Obviously, the toppings and combination possibilities are endless!
Now you have no excuse NOT to eat your greens. (and enjoy them, too!) 😀
I’ll be back later with some new dressing recipes for all the salads you’re going to be eating now (right?), but in the meantime…
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite salad combo??