I didn’t eat my first salad until I was in college.
I liked vegetables but just couldn’t get excited about a plate of raw ones and was always grossed out by condiments and anything besides butter and parmesan cheese being on my food, so salad dressings were out.
Fast forward to my 30s, and I am a salad fiend! I love them and do what I can to make them exciting, colorful and delicious.
My husband is a teacher and was telling me about a potluck they recently had at his school. One of the teachers wanted to go in on a salad with him, and they were going to bring the standard lettuce + tomatoes + carrots + cucumbers with ranch dressing.
Now, as a disclaimer, I believe that eating fresh, whole foods, especially vegetables, is a wonderful idea. But what if you could supercharge your salads with more medicinal, disease-preventive, feel good ingredients??
This video from nutritionfacts.org has gotten me to think differently about salads, and I think it will do the same for you. It also reveals the #1 anticancer vegetable, so check it out!
Based on that video, I thought I’d share the template that I use to mix and match ingredients when making salads. I still include all vegetables but ordered them based on how cancer preventive they are, so use this as a guide for upgrading your salads.
The key with keeping salads exciting is to use a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. Based on this list, you can come up with endless combinations of beautiful, nourishing and delicious salads!
- Base: spinach, kale, arugula, Romaine, spring mix, watercress, Bibb lettuce, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, radicchio, bok choy, endive
- Veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, shredded cabbage, shredded brussels sprouts, scallions, shallots, onions, leeks, fennel, celery, peppers, beets, radishes, roasted sweet potatoes and other root vegetables, cooked asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots
- Super food add-ons: broccoli sprouts (Potomac Sprout Co. is my favorite!), lentil sprouts, bean sprouts, hemp seeds, goji berries, mulberries
- Chopped herbs: basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano, mint
- Fruit: berries are my go to but sometimes apples, pears or peaches fit the bill! Avocados are a great substitute for cheese (and they’re a fruit!)
- Fermented Food: chopped sauerkraut, fermented beets (Farmhouse Culture), or kimchi. Adding these to your salad will enhance digestion and leave you feeling less bloated.
- Protein: lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, chicken, salmon
- Crunch: roasted chickpeas (Chickpeatos and Saffron Road are my top two brands), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pecans or cashews
- Dressing: check out over a dozen dressing recipes below, most of which include the all-star ingredient – GARLIC! My favorite brands of store-bought dressing are Tessemae’s and Bragg’s.
In the next post, I will be sharing 16 supercharged salad recipes, so you have some ideas for how to make this happen…and keep your salads exciting!