Where do you stand on the salad spectrum?
Do you love it? Or is it a should-eat?
If you think salad is something you have to eat in order to “deserve” dessert — or because your doctor told you that you should — then I have some tried-and-true tips to increase your salad eating enjoyment. By the way, these tips work for kids too!
It's really hard to love a salad when the ingredients aren't fresh. For example, there's a world of difference between the head of romaine you pick up at the farmers market — and enjoy that day — and the bagged greens that have been sitting in your produce drawer for a week. You know that rotten smell that can happen when you open a bag of salad greens and then come back to it a few days later? Icky. If you use bagged greens — which I often do — check the sell-by date to make sure you're getting the freshest bag in the bunch. And then try to use them within a day or two of purchase. Same goes for whole heads of salad greens — try to use them as quickly as possible. That way, the greens will be crisp, full of nutrients (these degrade over time), and deliciously un-slimy.
Mix it Up
Salads can get real boring, real fast, especially if you're having them on a daily basis. Keep your palate engaged by rotating the kinds of greens and vegetables you use each week. This will also ensure that you're getting a wide range of nutrients. For example, one salad might include romaine and shredded kale — while the next includes arugula, slices of roasted beets (homemade or from the supermarket's salad bar), and shredded carrot. Aim for a variety of textures and flavors in each salad — something crunchy, something savory, something bitter, something sweet.
Make Your Own Dressing
This is key. I find most store-bought dressings inedible, and far prefer making my own. It's so much better that way! No industrial oils or additives to worry about, no weird flavors. On Sundays, I often make a batch or two of dressing to use on my salads throughout the week. Sometimes, I make a “real” vinaigrette with vinegar, oil, dijon mustard, a dash of honey, and some salt and pepper. But more often, I'll just put my greens in a bowl and drizzle vinegar and oil over the top — and maybe drizzle in a little honey too — the honey, by the way, is a big hit with my 8-year-old son. He might resist other vegetables as his default, but he's totally down with salad.
Garnishes and Goodies
This is where the magic happens. My favorite goodies include: toasted nuts and seeds, and often some chopped dates or raisins. I also like to incorporate fresh herbs such as parsley, scallions and cilantro, depending on what else I have in the salad. I like to add a bit of protein as well — I usually use a scoop of beans since I don't often eat animal protein. Sliced avocado or some olives are wonderful, too.
Want some ideas for salads you can love? Check out my recipes mini-pack, which you can download by clicking on the button below. This PDF includes recipes for:
- Balsamic Sherry Vinaigrette
- Tahini Ranch-Style Dressing
- Spiced Seed Mix
I hope this post was helpful for you — if you have questions or topics you'd like me to cover in the future, please send me an email at . I'd love to hear from you!