However… many of us get into what we at the Heartbeet Chef call a “salad rut,” where we routinely use the same ingredients over and over again until we’re so sick of salad that we don’t eat it as often, and lose all the wonderful benefits!
Follow these seven steps to get your salad-building creativity going so you can enjoy all the vegetable colors of the rainbow and reap the benefits of healthy food!
Step 1: Start with Your Base
Every good salad has a base ingredient, usually some sort of green. We love arugula, romaine, iceberg, kale or mixed baby greens. Mustard greens are usually too spicy to use as a base but you can mix them with other greens for a refreshing combo. Along similar lines, collard greens are too thick to use as a salad base, but if you shred them and mix them up with other greens they’re mighty tasty.
Step 2: Massage, Baby!
Everyone loves a good massage, and kale and spinach are no exception! Before you add your chopped veggies to the salad, take a minute or so to massage a little dressing or oil into your greens. Trust us, it will make all the difference in the world.
Step 3: Choose Your Veggies
Radishes, carrots, onions, oh my! Choose vegetables that make your mouth water – we love shredded kohlrabi and yellow bell peppers, too!
Step 4: Add Something Sweet
The pleasure in creating salad is that you never quite know what the next bite will taste like, thanks to the plethora of ingredients. It can be fun to add a sweet food into the mix such as seasonal fruit, a handful of dried cranberries, raisins, fresh figs or blueberries. You choose!
Roasted veggies are a fun, and slightly sweet, option as well. Think roasted eggplant, zucchini or sweet potatoes.
Step 5: Add Extra Crunch
Hearty nuts and seeds can add great crunch and texture to your salad. Try pine nuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts or roasted pecans – yum!
Step 6: Sprinkle on Some Cheese
If you eat dairy, cheese can really add an extra punch to your mix. We love crumbled chevre or shaved parmesan (get a nice brick of parmesan reggiano and shave that sucker in there).
We’re not super fans of shredded cheddar, but some people love it – and if you purchase pre-shredded cheddar cheese, your salad will really become a cinch.
Step 7: Drizzle Your Dressing
Drizzling on a simple balsamic vinegar with olive oil and salt and pepper will make for a very satisfying, simple finishing touch.
If you prefer to buy dressings, make sure that they use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Avoid canola oil, sunflower oil and soy oil. One of our favorites is Alpine Avocado!
Eating healthy can be fun, straightforward and super rewarding. If you’d like some extra help creating the healthy lifestyle you crave, let’s talk! The Heartbeet Chef is here to make your life easier – click HERE to find out what we can do for you.