How to Build a Better Salad

I really like salads. I like the colorful variety of vegetables. I like the grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, almonds, walnuts, cranberries, and raisins that can be put on top of salads. I think I eat salads more for the toppings than for the lettuce, but doesn’t everyone?

It can be tough to find time to prepare amazing salads at home. I’m guilty of taking a handful of mixed greens and calling that a “salad.”

I recently made a pact with myself to get better at creating interesting, filling, healthy salads at home. My biggest obstacle was the time it takes to prepare (aka chop) the vegetables.  Really though, my health and happiness are worth taking 15 minutes once a week to prep veggies.

For this reason, I wanted to share with you my guide for building better salads at home. It’s really quite simple once you get over the chopping….

Step One: Buy your vegetables. I like a lot of color in my salads: I try to get one green, one red or orange, and one purple veggie into the mix. This week I chose cucumber, red pepper and red cabbage (which is actually purple…).

I also like a variety of greens in my salads. In order to save a little bit of time, I buy Olivia’s Organic baby spinach and baby mixed greens in the large tubs.

Step Two: Chop, slice and dice your veggies. (This is the hardest step!) Choose one day a week where you will set aside 15 to 20 minutes to chop up some vegetables. It may seem like a daunting task, but it really doesn’t take that much time.

I like to chop my veggies and then put them into plastic or glass storage containers.

This makes it really easy to just pull them out of the fridge and use them!

Step Three: Assemble your veggies. Once you have all of the grunt work done, the true artistry of salad creating begins.

I like to eat pretty things.

Step Four: Add your fun toppings! After I have my salad base, I like to add nuts and a little dried fruit to my salads.

I usually add another healthy fat source, like avocado, but the only avocados I could find at Market Basket were harder than adamantium.

Step Five: Top it off with your major protein source. The protein component of the salad is incredibly important. Protein will help you to feel physically and mentally satisfied by your salad. There’s something about eating a plate full of veggies that just doesn’t do it for me: I need some chicken, beef, seafood or tofu to make my salad feel like a real meal.

I chose a nice, juicy, leftover beef burger.

It may seem like this is a lot of food, but if you think about it, it’s only a beef burger, a handful of almonds and some raisins. I don’t count the vegetables: you can never have too may vegetables. Add an oil based salad dressing if you must, but I find that there are enough toppings on my salads that I rarely need dressing.

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5 Responses to How to Build a Better Salad

  1. Gale June 4, 2011 at 11:57 AM #

    This week I roasted sweet potatoes & eggplant (orange and purple!) to add to a lunch salad. With leftover cold pork tenderloin, cucumber, carrot, avocado, sprouts, and mixed greens—I know my coworkers were jealous!

    • AllieNic June 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

      Wow, that sounds delicious!

  2. Sophie33 June 9, 2011 at 1:28 AM #

    This is one great & fabulous salad! I love my salads too,…a lot even in wintertime!

    MMMMMMMMMM,….lovely pics too,…:)

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