Salad is probably the last thing on everyone’s mind during this period of social distancing, but getting your nutrients is important in keeping your system strong. Eating healthy is also beneficial for mental health – make your day more positive with one of these salads, comprised of unexpected ingredients that will leave your mouth watering. Pro tip: making your salads look more visually appealing goes a long way in making them more appetizing.
1. Try a superfood salad
Superfood salads are amazing – who needs bread when you have a bit of fruit, protein, crunch, and a whole lot of color? Combine a seed of your choice, chia or otherwise, with a roasted protein (salmon and chicken are always versatile) combined with some nuts and a fruit of some sort. Try this pomegranate, kale and quinoa salad that uses salmon as the main and is paired with a killer dressing.
2. Sprinkle in some fruit
Fruit in a salad? This might some blasphemous for some, but fruit is the best way to brighten up a salad and make eating your vegetable significantly easier. Strawberries is one of our favorites, especially with spinach and kale. This recipe adds in quinoa, and we suggest taking liberties with goat cheese, since it adds some tangy creaminess into the mix.
3. When in doubt, add cheese
Anyone who hates salad has definitely put a pile of shredded mozzarella to their iceberg lettuce. Instead, opt for a healthier and yummier option by adding in some fresh ricotta or feta, since shredded supermarket cheese doesn’t exactly scream “fresh.” This ricotta, broccolini and chickpea salad, which could pass for a full meal.
4. Don’t skimp on the meat or fish
For non-vegans or non-vegetarians, salads can seem daunting. But there’s no shame in adding a few grilled chicken or fish strips to ease you into the salad game. It can make you feel fuller, where many salads end up giving you that still-hungry feeling after eating them. Adding protein will also increase your energy so you’re less hungry throughout the day. This sriracha end lime chicken salad, for instance, definitely tastes better than your greasy Thai takeout spot.
5. Add a pinch of honey
Some people like a little sweetness in their salad, but don’t want to add fruits. The solution is honey or agave, which adds a pinch of natural sweetness to dressings or cheeses that are already infused with honey. Roasting nuts in honey is also delicious. Honey is cut nicely by citrus, so consider making a honey lime or lemon vinaigrette for some zesty joy.
6. Roast or grill vegetables
The method that you cook veggies definitely has a powerful effect on the final flavor. Steamed veggies vs grilled veggies for instance – there’s really no comparison. Grilling adds a more robust, earthy taste with a preferable texture, and same goes for roasting. Consider trying it with bell peppers, eggplants, or mushrooms. Roasted and grilled veggies are also easier to digest than raw ones.
7. Get familiar with different beans
A salad comprised of different bean types might not sound like the most exciting thing, but you need to experience it to fully appreciate this salad hack. Especially useful for vegetarians, this protein-packed ingredient comes in a ton of varieties and textures. Mix some pinto, black, and kidney beans with some edamame. Adding green beans, quinoa or couscous is a great way to make the salad more dynamic and enhance textures further.
8. Play with temperature
Strangely enough, combining different temperatures in a single salad makes it feel more hearty and satisfying. For instance, combine some freshly pan roasted salmon or steak blended with a chilled avocado and some room temp, crunchy cucumbers and onions. For some reason, doing this makes a salad feels like an automatic comfort food, even though it’s not boxed Mac and cheese. This recipe even adds some crunch with crispy kale. Salad that tastes like a potato chip? Yes please.
9. Add spices
While literal heat is helpful with some ingredients, adding spices is a fantastic way to introduce new flavors to your salad. You can cook your protein in hot sauce or some other spicy sauce, as well as adding spices to your ingredients. Others prefer adding in chopped jalapeño, pickled ingredients, or a more sweet and spicy combination. For something super unusual, try this cumin infused chicken salad bowl.