It’s finally Summer in Boston.
And that means it’s finally fancy salad season.
Well, technically any season can be fancy salad season, but I tend to crave salads in the summer like crazy. Raw veggies are very cooling, which is perfect for when it’s a million degrees out with five billion percent humidity.
Lots of people think that salads are diet food.
That you can’t eat a salad and feel full and satisfied.
Those people have never had a fancy salad.
Fancy salads are huge.
Like “I should have picked a bigger plate” giant.
They’re balanced: they have carbohydrates, protein and lots of healthy fats to make them last more than 15 minutes in your stomach and keep you full until your next meal.
Fancy salads are colorful, which means they have a wide array of nutrients.
And fancy salads are fun to eat, because they’re…fancy.
So here are my 5 steps to build a satisfying, fancy salad:
Step One: Go Crazy in the Produce Department
Go for as many different colors and textures as possible. The more the merrier and the more the delicious. Here are some of my favorite salad veggies:
- Red cabbage. It adds a nice crunch and beautiful purply color to fancy salads.
- Avocado. A delicious healthy fat that adds a nice creamy texture.
- Beets. Definitely will add red to your salad. I buy the roasted Love Beets because I’m too lazy to roast them myself.
- Peas. Add a nice sweet flavor and bright green color!
- Orange, red and yellow peppers.
- Carrots! I buy baby carrots or take regular carrots and “shave” them.
- Sprouts. I like to put a sprig of alfalfa sprouts on my salads too.
- Tomato. A nice, big heirloom tomato can add some sweetness.
- Cucumber. For a refreshing crunch.
Step Two: Chop your veggies
Chop ’em all up! I like to try to chop them all or half of them and put them in glass containers or storage baggies so that my salad making during the week is a little bit quicker. Having a 4 month old makes it so that I never know how much time I’ll have to make slash eat lunch– so having everything prepped and ready to go is a real lifesaver.
Step Three: Fill your plate with leafy greens
I usually buy some pre-washed salad greens like spring mix or 50/50 spring mix and spinach. It’s just easier to have washed greens when I’m washing and chopping the rest of my veggie toppings.
I will add some kale to my salads here and there for more texture and a more nutrient dense punch.
Step Four: Pile on the protein
My trick for getting protein on my fancy salads is to lean heavy on the dinner leftovers and tuna salad.
When cooking dinner, I always cook at least enough for four servings– two for dinner, two for lunches that week. This way, I know I’ll have some grilled chicken, steak or whatever leftover to put on top of a salad.
In the case I don’t have any protein leftover from dinner (aka it was just too delicious and had to be consumed immediately), my go-to is tuna salad made with Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo or Sir Kensington’s Original mayo.
Adding protein is an important part of the fancy salad– it’s what helps turn “just a salad” into a meal. The other thing that helps make salads more satisfying is your healthy fat.
Step Five: Don’t forget the healthy fats
Pile it on! Fats are what make your meals super satisfying and they are really important when it comes to salad because you absolutely need fats to absorb all of the delicious nutrients in the rainbow of veggies you’re eating.
So add some avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds. I usually put a homemade dressing on my salads. There are no measurements in this recipe, so just add whatever “feels” good to you.
- High quality olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Spicy Brown Mustard
- Maple Syrup
- A dash of Coconut Aminos
- Sea Salt
- Add all of the ingredients willy nilly to a mason jar and shake.
- Apply liberally to your salad and make sure to save some for later!
So there you have it. All of the steps you need to make a truly fancy salad.
What are your favorite salad toppings? Share in the comments below.