The thought of a basic salad with a little dressing on just seems so boooooorrrriiiiing! So when I started this diet and the recommendation was to start as many meals as possible with a salad, I was a little resistant. The problem is, I can tell when I'm not getting enough leafy greens in my diet and the perfect fix is a big bowl of leafy greens. Now that I've been on a plant based diet for over a year, I've found some better ways to make my salads more exciting. Here are some strategies I use to keep it interesting and different with every salad....
First, variety is the spice of life but this is especially true when it comes to salad dressings. Don't box yourself into a corner by only thinking of traditional salad dressings, think of salad dressings as ANY sauce that can be put on a salad (try BBQ sauce, oil free of course, it's really good!). For example, one of my favorite dressings on my salads is Trader Joe's General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce. It's tangy, sweet, spicy and excellent on a salad, and you don't need much to make it good. There are a handful of oil free salad dressings that can be purchased at Trader Joe's or even your regular grocery store. Trader Joe's also has a Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette that is a salad dressing that is oil-free and wonderful! Albertsons carries a brand called Maple Grove Farms of Vermont and their Fat Free Honey Dijon is good as is their Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette. Finally, there are always homemade salad dressings you can play around with to adjust to your liking. One of my favorite bloggers, Wendy, over at the Healthy Girls Kitchen blog, just posted a request for some more ideas for homemade salad dressing,tons of great ideas!
Now for some ideas for creating that wonderful salad. Start with more than one type of lettuce. Iceberg is worthless, it is mostly water and has very little nutritional value. Instead go for spinach, romaine, collard greens, kale, swiss chard any of the really good leafy green lettuces. Next add your normal favorite toppings like carrots, tomato, mushroom, sprouts, peas, corn, bell pepper or any other veggie you enjoy on your salad. Next I add a grain. Sometimes this is steamed brown rice, sometimes it's whole wheat pasta of different kinds, or try quinoa, millet, barley, just choose one and throw it on your salad. Finally, I like to add about half a can of beans. I like black beans, pinquito beans, garbanzo beans, whatever tastes good to you. Make sure to rinse the beans and get off as much of the sodium as possible.
Now pour on that favorite dressing and ENJOY! This salad has it all, the necessary vitamins in the leafy greens other vitamins in the additional colorful veggies, a little carbs in your grain and some protein in your beans. I promise you, if you eat a big bowl of salad with all these elements you will NOT leave the table hungry. Also, it seems like I don't get that afternoon sleepy spell as bad when I have one of these salads for lunch. Give it a try....let me know what you think....it just may be the thing to get you loving your salads again!!
About the Author
Hello, my name is Todd Coston. This site is a dedicated to my journey on a plant based diet. I'm passionate about the benefits of this diet and share my thoughts, resources and recipes through this site. I would love to hear from you, so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Plant Based Blogs/Sites:
Happy Healthy Long Life
Healthy Girl's Kitchen
Rocky Road Run