When looking for a quick nutritious dish, many of us turn to the old reliable bowl of salad.
It’s quick and easy, especially if you use all the handy bags of salad makings.
But a bag of lettuce doesn’t exactly win prizes when it comes to nutrition. Nor does it fill you up and keep you satisfied for long.
So how do you turn a quick salad into a nutritious salad? Let’s take a look at a few ways to take that simple salad up a notch or two.
We might as well start at the beginning. The most basic salad can be better when you choose healthier greens. Just like any vegetable, the darker the greens, the more nutrients they offer.
Don’t limit your greens, whether lettuce or others, to one color or variety.
You can find packages of mixed greens that offer choices, or you can create your own healthier blend of greens.
If you have some standard iceberg lettuce, go ahead and use it for the splendid crunch, but mix in some other greens like escarole, frisee, or even baby spinach.
Don’t forget to try some mustard greens for a spicy kick. And, all these greens offer lots of nutrients that our favorite iceberg lettuce does not.
Look at your refrigerator and pantry. Are there vegetables lurking there? Perhaps there are veggies that you might not have even considered for a salad.
Maybe you don’t have a fresh tomato or cucumber. What would a salad be without these two veggies? Wait and see!
Grab a carrot and peel pretty shavings into the salad bowl. Chop up those celery tops you’ve been saving for soup.
Do you have frozen okra, corn, green beans, or sweet peas? Toss them in.
If you need to have a bit of tomato but don’t have a fresh one, don’t despair. Open a can of diced tomatoes and spoon out a few. The flavor will surprise and delight.
Don’t let the idea of a ‘side salad’ keep you from adding any vegetable you want to your new and improved salad.
Here’s where the nutrition takes another leap. If we’re talking about taking nutrition up another notch, we have to mention protein.
No meal is complete without a good amount of protein. But, in a salad, you need to be creative.
Chop up cooked chicken, fish, or meat and throw it in. But, don’t stop there. Remember to hard-boil some eggs, mash them up, and sprinkle on top.
A can of white Albacore tuna, flaked slightly, makes a delicious and nutritious addition. Skip the croutons and add nuts for protein and crunch.
Rinsed canned beans or oven baked crispy garbanzo beans are another protein rich source. Cheese is another good source of nutrition.
Use shredded hard cheese like Parmesan or crumbled soft cheese like Bleu cheese for interesting flavor, texture, and nutrition.
Fruits and Berries
When you’re looking for super salads, look no further than fruits and berries. Choose first for color and then for taste.
You really can’t lose when you add any sweet fruits and berries to a cold, crispy bowl of greens.
Strawberries, orange segments, and tart apples are just the beginning. Include some fresh pineapple, mango, or pomegranate to the list and your salad will be full of color and nutrition.
Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries add lots of antioxidants and make any salad stand out.
With any nutritious dish, salads are best when you combine flavors, textures, and colors all together in one arrangement.
Consider combining all these elements when you choose your ingredients and you will be guaranteed a successful super salad!
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