Salads

I don't mess around with my salad bowls
I don’t mess around with my salad bowls

As the weather is starting to warm up, I’m beginning to eat more salads.

This isn’t a diet thing – I eat salads because they taste good and make me happy, not because I’m trying to look a certain way in a bikini. Salads are easy to make, customizable, and a delicious way to get in my veggies.

I always feel so physically good after eating a salad too. There’s just something about being full of produce that makes me happy. I read a post from Cookie and Kate the other day that described this feeling as “kale belly”, which I think is the perfect name for it.

Convenience

When I lived in the dorms and ate in the dining commons, I had a salad almost every day. The salad bar was excellent to begin with and by the end of the year, I had become a master at combining dishes from different stations with the produce from the salad bar to make the best possible salads.

My dream kitchen has a giant salad bar in the middle of it. Unfortunately, my kitchen now is definitely lacking one. It’s just so much easier to eat salads when all the produce is chopped up and waiting for me.

One thing I do to make eating salads a little more convenient is to prepare larger batches of produce ahead of time. If I’m roasting or steaming veggies, I’ll make a bunch so I have extras for salads later in the week.

Bonus: if it’s already made, I’m more likely to eat it. Snacking on veggies is good for me and saves my produce from sitting in the fridge, unloved and alone, until it starts to go bad.

Of course, this doesn’t work for everything. Some veggies, like mushrooms or carrots, get a little dried out if you cut them ahead of time. The nice thing is that these vegetables literally take two minutes to prepare – all I have to do is wash and chop them.

If I’m making salad for dinner and want another for lunch, I’ll make both at the same time and keep the second one in the fridge for the next day. As long as I’m careful to add the dressing at the last minute and make sure to eat the salad in a timely manner, it doesn’t get soggy and this can shave down precious minutes when I’m getting ready the next morning.

Make it a meal

There is no way that lettuce and carrots alone will fill me up for more than five minutes.

In order to make my salads stick, I always make sure to include some source of protein. My favorites are beans, tempeh, or chopped up veggie burgers but tofu, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs are also good. If you eat chicken, fish, or meat, those are awesome ways to add some protein to a salad too.

I also make sure to add complex carbohydrates or healthy fats to my salads. Roasted sweet potatoes are awesome in salads and as for fats, I love avocado. Nuts can also be a fun addition.

In order to make sure my salad will be filling, I copy my favorite salad bar restaurant. They let you pick a type of greens, seven toppings, and a dressing. I used to just use a couple toppings, which would rarely fill me up. By making sure I add a diverse group of foods in my salads, I stay full longer and get more creative with my salads.

Depending on what’s in season, some of my other favorite salad toppings include: carrots, steamed broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles, fennel, mushrooms, bell peppers, grilled zucchini, corn, roast squash, and asparagus.

Don’t be afraid to make your salad big too. That’s the fun thing about salads – they’re low in calories and high in nutrients so you get to eat good sized portions. As you can see above, my favorite salad bowl is a huge mixing bowl. There’s enough room in it to toss my salad so everything is mixed up nicely.

Dressing 

I always try to keep a jar of homemade dressing in the fridge. It takes literally two minutes to whip up and I’m way more likely to eat a salad if I know I don’t have to make the dressing.

Homemade dressing is beyond easy to make. It’s cheaper and healthier than the stuff you’ll find at the store – take a look sometime and see how many dressings have high fructose corn syrup in them.

It’s also easy to personalize your own dressing. I love all things vinegar so I tend to make my dressings with a 1-1 oil/vinegar ratio while most recipes have more oil than vinegar.

Of course, this isn’t to say that store bought dressings don’t have their time and place. There are some really great options out there and it can be a fun way to add new flavors to your salads but if you haven’t tried making your own dressing, I highly recommend it.

Here are a couple of dressing recipes from around the Internet that I’ve made over and over. I would definitely try the apple cider dressing with kale salad it’s paired with. This is one of my favorite salads. You can make it ahead of time and it just gets better as it sits. The grain bowl that the tahini dressing is used for is also incredible. Both the apple cider dressing and tahini dressing are great to use on any other salad too though.

  • Wiggs’s salad dressing is awesome. I never would have thought to add soy sauce to my dressing but surprisingly, I love it. It gives the dressing a wonderful salty, umami flavor and I can’t get enough of it.
  • This apple cider dressing from Budget Bytes literally makes me lick my blender. It’s that good. You can totally make it in a jar too, just make sure to chop the garlic finely first.
  • I’m in love with this tahini dressing from Oh She Glows – the combination of tahini, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice is phenomenal.

Lastly, here are two more of my staple salad dressings. As always, feel free to tweak them to fit your taste preferences.

 

Basic Vinaigrette

Time: 2 minutes

Yield: about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cut a couple of slits partway through the garlic but don’t cut all the way through (like a Hasselback potato).
  2. Toss all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Naomi’s Yogurt Dressing

This is based off a dressing that my roommate’s sister made. I’ve tweaked the herbs a little bit to be more like the Persian yogurt sauces I grew up with. Every time I have it, it reminds me of picnics in San Francisco with my roommate and her sister, so I still think of this as Naomi’s dressing.  

Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 3/4 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I like white balsamic or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cut a couple of slits partway through the garlic but don’t cut all the way through (like a Hasselback potato).
  2. Toss all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Advertisements

One thought on “Salads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s