We know what you’re thinking. “How have I been making salads wrong?” Given that a lot of people associate salads with dieting or “boring food,” they often add ingredients to salads that make them unhealthy, i.e. wrong. This is the way to do salads right.
One of the major components, according to most people, to a salad is the dressing. Take it from us: you aren’t doing yourself any favors by coating your salads with fatty, sugary, high calorie dressings that contain chemicals and preservatives. The benefits of the ingredients in your salad do not outweigh the ingredients in dressings. How do you remedy this? Start making your own dressings! It’s a lot easier than you think, you just have to be creative.
When making your own dressings, all you need is bowl, a mixing utensil, and delicious oils and vinegars. Expand your search beyond the grocery store and seek out specialty stores that sell olive oil or vinegar varieties. You can even take a trip to a farmer’s market near you to find an artisan olive oil company. Once you get your oil, don’t be afraid to infuse it with fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme. Whether or not you flavor your oil, making your own dressing is as simple, if not simpler, than buying a pre-made one. Try combining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, and sea salt and pepper to start. Get zesty with this raw recipe.
Now that you have a solid dressing, you need an even more solid base. Greens like kale, arugula, or spinach, all of which are rich in folate, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, are better than the average head of lettuce. If you are not familiar with microgreens yet, you are missing out on a serious dose of beneficial nutrients. But a salad isn’t a salad if you just add greens. The best way to create a nutritious salad, which has the proper phytonutrients, is to try and represent each of color of the rainbow. By making a colorful salad, you will have diverse nutrients and benefits from different sources. For example, adding colored bell peppers gives you beta-carotene and antioxidants, carrots give you biotin and vitamins A, K, and C, and purple cabbage gives you vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium. And those are just a few colors of the rainbow!
One thing to know is that there is more than one way to make a salad. Even though croutons and cheese are tempting, they don’t do you any good. Instead, spice up your salad with herbal blends, sautéed mushrooms, roasted eggplant, or even blanched green beans. Crunch on more than lettuce by adding chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or raw almonds to your next salad. You can even add dried fruit, provided it isn’t preserved with sulfur.
Keep your taste buds interested with different salads and dressings. Don’t just make a kale salad. Add watercress, chard, red cabbage, and apples. Drizzle a homemade vinaigrette over that (our mouths are watering just thinking about that) and start making salads right again!