I have a thing for gigantic green salads. Especially for lunch. To me, it’s the perfect mid-day meal because it fills me up and gives me energy–but doesn’t make me sleepy like some lunches do (I’m looking at you, bread and pasta). The key to a healthy and satisfying main dish green salad is a mix of ingredients that are nourishing and offer staying power–plus great flavor, texture, and color too. Another key: Prepping these ingredients at the beginning of the week so you’re all ready to go!
Here’s the formula I use for building my salads:
How to Make a Healthy Salad:
Greens: Any favorite salad greens will do, like mixed greens, kale, romaine, or baby spinach. Got some cabbage or Brussels sprouts in your veggie drawer? Thinly slice them and mix into your greens.
Protein Source: This is a key. Without protein, your salad won’t hold you for very long. Try foods like leftover roasted chicken, a chopped hard-boiled egg, or cooked lentils or beans.
Filling Grain: I am hooked on using quinoa and farro in my salads right now. If you don’t want to use grains, roasted butternut squash or sweet potato also add filling, fiber-rich carbs.
Veggies: Use whatever you have on hand, whether it’s fresh chopped veggies or leftovers from the night before.
Fruit: I love the sweetness and color that fruit adds to salads. (Avocados are fruits too!)
Nuts and Seeds: These provide great crunch, plus extra protein, fiber and healthy fats.
(I also usually add some soft cheese like goat or feta if I’ve got some because I will use any excuse I have to consume soft cheese. But it’s definitely not necessary!)
Using this formula, you can make all kinds of great combos:
Need ideas for dressings? Make a batch of one of these to keep in your fridge:
- 4 Homemade Vinaigrette Dressings: Easy Lemon Vinaigrette, Creamy Apple Vinaigrette, Everyone Loves This Vinaigrette, and Shallot Vinaigrette
- Lightened-Up Homemade Caesar
What are YOUR favorite salad combos?