Here are a few tips for taking the "sad" out of your dinner salad and crafting it into a delicious, colorful, satisfying meal that you'll look forward to, time and time again.
We use a Fig Balsamic Vinegar from Bistro Blends that’s out of this world. It's admittedly pricey, but worth every penny, in my opinion, and a little goes a long way. You can probably also find something similar at any local gourmet oil & vinegar boutique.
No oil is necessary. Oil is just empty calories with no nutrients and lots of saturated (or unsaturated) fat, so need to douse your salad in it.
Despite what you may have heard, oil is not a health food. Not olive oil, not coconut oil, and not avocado oil. It's a refined, processed food par excellence.
Forget the salad plate. This isn’t a side dish, it’s a meal — and it should be sized appropriately. Go big or go hungry!
My husband and I each have our own restaurant-size mixing bowl. Literally! We bought them at a restaurant supply store. Mine is so big, I have to sit with it in my lap, because it's too tall for me to eat from when it's sitting on a table.
No one likes soggy salad... not even me.
Using a salad spinner makes washing a breeze, and then a quick spin dries the greens so that the dressing will stick to them better and your salad will hold up while you eat it.
Pull out your food processor with the shredding disc, or use your veggie spiralizer. Even a carrot peeler will work in a pinch. Make pretty shreds or curls of a variety of flavorful, nutrient-dense foods: carrots, beets, zucchini, broccoli, red cabbage and kabocha squash, are all wonderful options.
Weekend prep tip: Do your shredding or spiralizing on the weekend, and have lots of veggies all prepped and ready to go for the week.
Just store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge and pull them out by the handful as you need them, whether you're making a quick veggie saute or a side salad for a different meal.
Note: I make more specific appliance recommendations in my Fresh Start online course coming up in March!
There are some veggies that don't fare as well with mechanical shredding. Celery, mushrooms and bell peppers are a few examples. Chop those by hand with a sharp chef's knife.
Choose whatever you like best, and make a beautiful rainbow!
My favorites include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seed, chopped walnuts and pistachios.
Choose a few and add just a sprinkling of each. They add some appetizing crunch and healthy fats to your meal.
Dried seaweed (dulse) flakes add extra nutrients like iodine that are beneficial to your health and can be hard to get otherwise, especially if you use sea salt instead of refined iodized salt in your recipes, like I do.
They also contribute some light, natural sodium to the meal, which adds flavor, but otherwise they blend right in, so add some to your taste without overdoing it, and it's a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients.
Dried sweetened cranberries are a go-to for me, as well as grapes, raisins, mandarin slices or chopped apple or pear. The options are unlimited!
Even if you do all of this, if you still want more food you can always serve your giant dinner salad with a side of sautéed tempeh (which is how I teach this meal in my Fresh Start course).
Roasted sweet potatoes are another excellent, delicious accompaniment, and the same is true of any roasted root vegetable. Radishes, beets, kohlrabi, sunchokes, squash... or opt for a mix. Whatever the farmer's market is selling this time of year.
I break down the basics of roasting vegetables in Fresh Start, too!
Follow these steps and I double-dog-dare you not to feel full and satisfied afterward.
Also pay attention to how you feel in the morning after salad night. I’ll bet you feel lighter, more energetic and ready to take on the world!
If you create a salad like this and enjoy it, please share a photo on social media and tag @greensagelife so I'll be sure to catch it. I'm always excited to see my recipes in action!
Photo credit for the pictures of me goes to Ashley Flaig Photography