You’ve heard it before, and even the Simpsons said it: “You don’t make friends with salad!” And it makes you cringe whenever you think about ordering a salad instead of a pizza. But salad doesn’t have to be a boring, unfulfilling word. If you want to eat more vegetables, watch your carbohydrate and calorie intake, and crave a refreshing meal, read on for some tips on how to make friends with salad. Who knows? You might even win friends with salad!
Think outside the box
Or should it be, think outside the bowl or plate? Salad doesn’t have to be the usual boring greens, tomatoes and vinegar. Mix it up by adding vegetables you wouldn’t normally add, like avocado, grilled eggplant and zucchini or roasted red peppers. If you’re a salty-and-sweet kind of person, try adding fruits to your salad. Berries, mangoes, oranges or any favourite fruit will work. You may even add some naturally dried cranberries or raisins. Try pairing the fruit with a soft cheese, like bocconcini, goat or feta cheese. Adding almonds, pecans or seeds will also give your salad a delicious crunch.
Add some grains
Eating a salad doesn’t have to be completely carb-free. Adding some complex carbohydrates is a delicious way to make your salads more enticing. Try a wild rice and Kamut grain salad by mixing wild rice, Kamut, red peppers, edamame, dried cranberries and orange and lemon juice to taste. Quinoa is versatile and can work as a base to any salad, from a Greek salad with olives and feta cheese, to a sweeter salad with strawberries, mangoes and avocados. Try making tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad made with fine cracked wheat, chopped parsley, tomatoes, green onions, mint, lemon juice and olive oil. There are so many healthy recipes online that include complex carbohydrates, the possibilities are endless!
Try different salad dressings
Many salad dressing companies offer interesting salad dressings besides the usual balsamic vinegar, Greek or Italian dressings. Some unique flavours you might want to try include raspberry vinaigrette, mango chipotle and poppy seed dressings. Complement salads that include sweeter fruits with sweeter-tasting salad dressings. Check the nutritional panel and ingredients list, and be wary of dressings that include too much sugar. If you’re watching your sugar and calorie intake, try brands that specifically have no sugar added, such as Walden Farms. Be careful of salad dressings that claim to be “fat-free,” as they usually have hidden starches to make up for the taste. If you want to try making your own dressing, experiment with apple cider or balsamic vinegar, olive oil and different spices.
Add some tasty protein
Fruit and vegetables alone won’t fill you up, no matter how elegant your salad might be. Try adding some healthy protein to your salad. Grilled chicken with your favourite seasonings is a great addition to any salad, but you might also like to try cold cuts, grilled seafood or even canned tuna. If you are a vegetarian, you could try adding a chopped veggie burger or a generous portion of nuts.