When you tell people to eat some more salad, even I think “wow, that’s so boring!” But it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about how you dress your salad up that can really give you variety and help you enjoy your nutritious meal or side dish.
Getting in raw vegetables in the form of a salad is a great way to get the maximum nutrient power from these plants, as they give you the best vitamin and mineral content and that crispness!
(1) Add some crunch!
Nuts & seeds not only add texture and flavour, but a big hit of protein, good fats and fibre. It also takes your salad to the next level. Lightly toasting or roasting them will give extra flavour, simply roast on a tray in the oven for 5-10 min, depending on the size of the nut to release those aromatic oils.
Try: roasted almonds, walnuts, pepitas or pine nuts.
(2) Add some dressing!
Salad dressing has gotten a bad wrap in the past, however, we’re not talking bottle bought stuff here. I’m talking a 3-second homemade dressing. Try combinations of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon and honey. Adding sauces such as fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and lime juice can give a salad an Asian twist (watch out for the salt levels creeping up too high though, opt for reduced salt versions where you can!). Don’t forget, adding fresh garlic and ginger can give your salad zing and really put the flavour over the top.
Herbs are another great way to add loads of flavour (and antioxidants) to your salad! Fresh or dried oregano, basil or mint are perfect. These soft herbs release all their flavour on chewing, so leave them whole or lightly tear them to get the maximum flavour.
(3) Add some grains!
Vegetables can give different textures BUT adding in some different types of textures keeps you interested in your salad.
Mixing through a handful or so whole grains gives some extra fibre which helps you feel fuller for longer and also satisfies that carb craving. Try some wholemeal couscous, multi-coloured quinoa, wild or brown rice, pearl barley, even small shaped wholemeal pasta are great additions (if you’re at work, you can easily get some single serve microwave versions of these too).
(4) Add some avo!
I think this one deserves to be on its own, because avocado is just that amazing. The creamy texture, the good fats, how it can instantly become a delicious guac. Add some diced red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, coriander and paprika so that your guac will keep without going brown and add it as a side with your salad.
(5) Add some protein!
Adding a source of protein in your salad, definitely converts it into a meal. Try using some leftover chicken, beef or lamb from the night before or pack a can of tuna or salmon for a fuss-free lunch option.
You can also add in some legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils or beans to increase the fibre and protein and really make this salad a meal that is kicking hunger in the butt.
A sprinkle of white cheese like feta, goats cheese or some lightly fried haloumi can give a salad a lift in terms of flavour, texture and protein too! Opt for lower salt or reduced fat options where possible.
(6) Add some roasted veg!
Not all veg are tastiest raw, roast up some capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin and sweet potato and you’ve got the basics of a great roast veg salad! Try out different combinations with different vegetables to add a toasty flavour to salads.
Putting some TLC into your salad preparation can really get you interested in the colour and tastes of different vegetables and keep you fuller for longer.
Give ’em a go!