Ways to Spruce up a Salad

May 21, 2012 10:30 am · 2 comments

One of the things they stress for a healthier dish is to eat salad. When you think salad, you might think iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers with a bunch of dressing on top. But salads can be so much more than a simple side salad. Here are a few ways that I’ve found to spruce up a salad so you can have it several times a week without it becoming too dull:

1) Vary your Lettuce Types – I used to just eat iceberg lettuce but I started trying the Earthbound Farm kits with varying types and they’ve started to grow on me. Consider making your salad with a few types of lettuce such as spinach, romaine, oak leaf, arugula, etc.

2) Vary your Dressings – I like to try new salad dressings all the time. I’ve even mixed a few things at home when my budget gets low. I’ve had luck with mustard and cranberry juice and I also sometimes like to just stir in some homemade salsa. The juices mixed with the contents of the salad can make a decent dressing.

3) Add Sun-Dried Tomatoes – These tend to add a little chewy sweetness to your salad. You can also Make Your Own Sun-Dried Tomatoes from your garden to save on money.

4) Add Berries (or other fruit)- I never thought of adding fruit to my salad until I ordered one like that in a restaurant a few years ago. The juices from them can help create their own dressing, too. My favorites are strawberries and blueberries but I’ve seen salads with apples, oranges, bananas, pears, watermelon, etc.

5) Add Nuts – Give your salad a little crunch with some walnuts, almonds, etc.

6) Add Beans or Hard Boiled Egg – Helps get a little extra protein, too. Garbonzo,  cannellini and black beans are ones you’ll often find in larger salad bars.

7) Add Seafood, such as Tuna, Salmon, Cooked Shrimp, etc – Find healthier varieties and add a little Omega-3s to your salad.

8 ) Load it up with Chopped Veggies – Add things such as cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, corn, asparagus, peas, radishes, broccoli, carrots, cooked and chilled squash/sweet potatoes, cucumbers, etc.

9) Add a little “salad reward” – It’s kind of fun to find “hidden treasure” in your salad by adding a little bit of something worth digging for that may not be 100% healthy like bacon pieces or those things that you need to limit such as avocados, olives, or cheese/dairy products. I also like to sometimes add things that are a little more expensive when I can, such as artichoke hearts, baby corns, hearts of palm, etc.

In the end, the best way to avoid salad burnout is to keep making them different so they seem like a new meal. Keep some fruits and veggies on hand to spruce up your salad and also for a healthier snack later in the day. Just be sure to watch your dressings that you add to your salads, as they are the way to take it from healthy to not healthy very fast! A great way to encourage more salad eating is to grow your own vegetable garden. I had fairly good luck growing several varieties of lettuce last year. And if you need more ideas to add to your salad, take a peek at the salad bars at your stores/restaurants near you. You might find a new item to add to your salad to spruce it up even more!

I’m hoping some of these ideas might help you get a little more salad into your weekly diet, if you need to!

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