It’s definitely salad season right now, but there’s a big difference between a handful of iceberg lettuce and some sliced cucumber, and a nutritionally-dense, ‘super salad’.
Read on to learn the basic ingredients that will take your salad to the next level. The best thing is that these can be put together in minutes, perfect for taking to work, or grabbing during a quiet moment.
1. Build your base
Any kind of green leaves make a great base for salads – iceberg, little gem, baby spinach, rocket etc. Try to vary your base through the week to get a variety of leaves into your diet. You can even add a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs for an extra ‘zing’ of flavour.
2. Boost the colour
Next add some colourful raw veggies – peppers, tomatoes, grated carrots, radishes etc. Batch cooking some roasted vegetables at the weekend is another great way to add variety and colour with minimum fuss. Good options are root vegetables like beetroot, carrot and sweet potato; or Mediterranean veg like aubergine, red pepper, courgette and red onion. Keep them in the fridge and add a spoonful to your salad.
3. Add protein
This could be a tin of fish, some leftover chicken, eggs, chickpeas, quinoa, lentils, or cheese. Crumbled feta, or some lightly fried halloumi are also great options.
4. Don’t forget healthy fats
Healthy fats – avocado, olives, olive oil, oily fish – are key to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Dice half an avocado, throw in a handful of olives or pour a good glug of olive oil over your finished salad.
5. Make sure you’ve got some ‘crunch’
Adding a sprinkle of something that gives texture to your salad can make all the difference! A couple of tablespoons of raw or toasted pumpkin seeds, a handful of chopped walnuts or some sliced radishes or carrots will all give a crunch to each mouthful.
6. Drizzle a dressing
You can opt for a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey, or use plain yoghurt or tahini as the base. Maybe add olive oil, half a clove of crushed garlic and some mint for a Greek-style flavour.