It’s that time of year where we vow to overhaul our eating habits and get more fruits and vegetables into our meals. We have a lot of options for accomplishing this goal, such as preparing and snacking on our favorites when they’re in season (like asparagus, grapefruit, and apples, among many others). We can also add extra vegetables to soup or chili, which make for hearty meals on cold winter evenings. But we can also lighten up with salads.
Salad doesn’t have to be boring or bland, and you don’t need gobs of dressing to make it tasty either. Keep reading to learn how to make a salad that you’ll actually want to eat.
How to Make a Salad: Leafy Greens
The basis of a green salad is...well, greens. If you’ve spent any time in the produce section of your supermarket, you know there’s a wide variety of leafy greens. Iceberg lettuce is an option, but unless you adore it, look for greens with more nutrients. Consider spinach, arugula, kale, or romaine lettuce. You can also buy bags or boxes of pre-washed spring mix or power greens.
How to Make a Salad: Lean Protein
Protein is essential to ensure your salad fills you up. Protein doesn’t necessarily mean meat, though grilled chicken and chunks of tuna are favorites of ours. You can also add hard boiled egg, beans, lentils, quinoa, or tofu to your salad. All of these vegetarian options include the added bonus of fiber, which also helps fill us up.
How to Make a Salad: Healthy Fat
This component of a salad worth eating could be anything from diced avocado to sunflower seeds to chopped nuts. Whisk a tablespoon of olive oil with vinegar (balsamic, red wine, white wine, or rice vinegar). Watch your portion sizes -- a little goes a long way, both in terms of flavor and calories.
How to Make a Salad: Extra Fruits and Vegetables
Greens don’t have to be the only produce in your salad. Dice up some more ingredients to give your salad additional flavor and color. Try grape tomatoes, strips of green or red pepper, diced cucumber, green peas, or chopped mushrooms, and pair them with seasonal fruit like diced apples, sliced strawberries, chopped mango, or whole blueberries and raspberries.
How to Make a Salad: Seasoning
If you taste your salad and it still seems to be missing something, we suggest a quick sprinkle of salt and pepper. You can even get a little fancy with Himalayan pink salt or lemon pepper. Fresh herbs are another way to add a punch of flavor.
Will a salad ever replace a juicy burger or a stack of crispy onion rings? Of course not. But if you keep these tips in mind, salad can be a delicious complement to your lunch or dinner.