Salads get such a bad rap- and I get it. So many of them just look boring, plain, and… like they were made for rabbits. Romaine with cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots & cucumbers? Hard pass.
I like to think outside the box when it comes to salad. I add in grains, sweet and savory fruits and veggies, and get creative with dressings, herbs and spices! This is the key to creating a good, filling, healthy salad.
There’s no exact formula to the perfect salad (which is the fun of it), so I’m giving you guys a list of my favorite ingredients to create salads with. Think of it like you would a Chipotle Burrito Bowl- mix and match as many ingredients as you want! BYOS style.
Oh and a pro tip to crafting the perfect salad: cut your add ins into small pieces so they can evenly distribute throughout the salad, and then toss the whole salad with tongs! There’s nothing worse than a salad that has all the dressings/add-ins on the top half & plain greens on the bottom. Gross!
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Pick one (or a couple) of each category! I love to combine greens (like spring mix + romaine). Adding a grain and source of protein help to actually make the salad a filling meal. If you skip both of these you’re going to be hungry again in an hour! Not ideal.
- Spring Mix
- Butter Lettuce
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Black Beans
Get creative with your add-ins! I typically always use a mixture of something sweet with something savory. I love the balance of flavors- and it just makes it not so boring. Also, if you prefer warmer bowls, don’t be afraid to roast your veggies with some spices in the oven first! That’s my absolute favorite.
- Mandarin Orange
- Sweet Potato
- Butternut Squash
- Bell Pepper
- Red Onion
- Green Onion
Adding something crunchy to your salad is a must. Playing with different textures in your salads helps to not make it feel like you’re eating slimey plants- ya feel me?
- Pine Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pita Chips
- Tortilla Chips
Herbs + Spices
I realized that just adding some fresh herbs takes the flavor of my salad to the next level. Especially when I add a little bit of Pink Himalayan Salt + Freshly Cracked Pepper- YES. Sometimes just a small amount of something simple can make a huge difference!
- Pink Himalayan Salt + Pepper
The options are truly endless here. There are SO many healthy salad dressing recipes on Pinterest. Just make sure when you’re selecting a salad dressing recipe you’re on the lookout for added sugar (just ditch it) and dairy (just ditch that too). Those two ingredients can turn your extremely healthy salad to one that’s no so healthy anymore!
Here are some flavor combinations that are SO yummy:
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Apple + Honey Vinaigrette
- Lemon Poppyseed
- Fresh Lemon + Olive Oil
- Fresh Lime + Olive Oil
- Green Goddess
- Creamy Garlic Tahini
- Honey Mustard
- Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette
- Asian Sesame
- Caesar (dairy free or made with greek yogurt)
- Ranch (dairy free or made with greek yogurt)
Got all the salad inspo you need? What creation are you going to make first?
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