Making a healthy and satiating salad is done with a conscious effort. I try to have a 2-quart salad a minimum of FIVE times a week. Here are some of the deliberate decisions I make when I make my salads to make sure they are life-giving and nutritionally sound.
NOTE: My salads are 100% animal-free, made without dairy, eggs, or any other animal products.
I use a two quart-sized bowl for my salads. The ones I love came from Amazon. I bought this set of 2 porcelain bowls, and they are still like new even though I use them daily! I make sure to fill the bowl to the top first with greens — Romaine or red-leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, or whatever I feel like for the day.
As I mentioned above, I fill the 2-quart bowl with a mixture of greens or just Romaine lettuce, which is my fave. I chop it all into bite-sized pieces–not really super small like some people do. I think I get plenty of greens in this bowl without having to chop it into itty bitty pieces. I usually wash, spin to dry, and store lettuce for 2 days of salads at a time, leaving the top slightly open to keep them from getting soggy or turning pink. You can also use lettuce that is already washed, dried, and pre-cut in bags from your favorite grocery store. Whatever gets you to eat greens is the right way!
In order to get some cruciferious veggies into my salad, I generally add some shredded red cabbage (about 1/4 cup). However, you could add raw or cooked broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, or any other cruci-veg you like!
Veggies and Fruits:
I always make sure to add lots of chopped veggies and fruits with PLENTY OF COLOR. EAT THE RAINBOW! Tri-colored bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and so forth. One of my faves is oil-free roasted, cooled, and chopped beets! Leftover roasted veggies that have been cooled in the fridge are also delightful added to a salad. I also love to add berries, chopped mango, or fruits like chopped apple or pear with the peel left on, or the sections of a couple of cutie oranges. If I don’t add the fruit into my salad, I eat if after I finish my salad as my dessert (like a big apple or orange, or a bowl of melon).
I will also add 1/4 cup of oil-free (usually homemade) hummus, or 1/2-3/4 cup of cooked and cooled beans, lentils, or green peas. Legumes are full of healthy protein, low in fat, have the helpful resistant starch that our bodies need to slow down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream, plus LOTS of fabulous fiber! Fiber helps make you feel full and is crucial to keep you “regular” daily. 😊
I don’t always add starch into my salads, but a 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, brown rice, farro, or other grains can be a delicious addition to a salad because it will add a new texture that makes your salad more interesting. Most of the time, I eat my starch on the side, like a small baked sweet potato or some air-fried potato “fries” (about 200 grams).
Whole Plant Fats:
I like to top my salad with a nut or seed-based homemade dressing. This is where I get about 1/2 of my whole plant fat calories for the day. I especially love Spicy Peanut dressing (recipe below)! If the salad is more of a Mexican style, I may use salsa for the dressing and top with 1/4 of a chopped avocado or a scoop of guacamole. If the dressing is more of a vinaigrette, I will add 1 T of pumpkin seeds or chopped dry-roasted almonds or peanuts. You can also add sunflower seeds or other nuts and seeds that you like. Some people also add their daily 1 T of ground flaxseeds into their salad if they didn’t get it into their breakfast. I usually get mine in during breakfast, so I rarely add it to my salad. Occasionally, I add some chopped olives to my salad, as well.
I almost always add 1-2 T of garlicky sauerkraut (store-bought or homemade) to my salad or kimchi, if I have some available. Fermented veggies are great for positive gut health.
Salad dressing is what keeps us coming back to salads, no? I just know that for me, really good salad dressing seems to be necessary to get me to consistently eat my produce. So, check out my oil-free salad dressings section of my website, or consider buying High Carb Hannah’s “Let’s Get Saucy” eBook or Dreena Burton’s Oil-Free Dressings eBook.
My Favorite Spicy Peanut Salad Dressing:
2 scoops (or 1/4 cup) of Naked PB Peanut Powder (no salt, oil, or sugar added — Non-GMO)
1 T tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1/2-1T Sriracha sauce
1/2-1T date syrup, maple syrup, or agave
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t garlic powder or 1 small clove of crushed garlic
cold water to thin out
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