Monday, April 30, 2012

Spruce up that Basic Salad

When I go out to eat and I order the side salad I'm normally presented with one of two things.
1. A small plate of iceberg lettuce with tomato, red cabbage shreds, and carrot shreds.
2. A spring mix base with onion, tomato, and carrot.
It's no wonder that people don't think of salads as delicious crunchy addicting bowls of beauty!

I love salads. We get along. We normally hang out 4-5 times a week. It's getting pretty serious between us. I'm willing to share though. I think salads could be a good relationship for more people if they were properly understood.

Here are some of my favorite ideas to spruce up your salads!

Add Fresh Herbs
Look at that beauty! Spring greens topped with cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, fresh herbs & sesame seeds. Don't leave fresh herbs out of your lettuce base. Fresh cilantro, basil, and parsley make great additions to lettuce leaves. They add flavor, freshness, and nutrition. 

more tips after the jump...

Cook The Vegetables
This fun "taco" salad has cooked vegetables on it! You don't need to have only raw stuff on a salad (unless you eat raw of course). Throw some fajita style vegetables on there like green pepper, onion, and maybe mushrooms.

Add Fruit
This super fun salad has a bunch of fruit on it. Salads can OF COURSE have fruit on them. I mean, how delicious. Why not put fruit on lettuce. This one has mango and grapes. It also has pumpkin seeds and a ton of jicama (a sweeter root vegetable that looks rough and brown from the outside but white and appetizing in the middle)

Change The Cut
This salad I made at home with organic spinach, spiral cut carrot, cucumber, raw beets, and tomatoes. I love how the spiral makes it looks so beautiful. If you don't have a spiral slicer, try cutting your vegetables on a diagonal or maybe slicing them very thin. A change in shape might make a carrot more exciting. I used hummus as a dressing on this one. 

Switch Up Your Dressing
Dressing is the next controversial part of salads. Dressing provide Flavor and Extra Nutrition. If the only extra nutrition they're giving you is fat, you might want to upgrade. Hummus has more protein than an average salad dressing. Any seed or bean based dressing (like tahini) is going to have more dense nutrition on there. If you already have seeds or beans on your salad think about squeezing an extra vegetable in your dressing. 
You can puree red peppers in a blender or zucchini in a blender with spices makes a creamy "ranch" looking dressing. I made a salad dressing the other night with canned pumpkin. 

The dressing has canned pumpkin, tarmari, sriracha, sage, thyme, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. It made a dressing reminiscent of thanksgiving, but more spicy! It tasted so good to me. Using pureed vegetables is a great way to avoid excess oils for your dressing.

Comment below and tell me how you like to spruce up your salads!
Happy Eating Salads!

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