Forget everything you’ve been conditioned to believe about salads. This no-rules technique is about how to free your creativity and feed your soul!
The Basic Framework for Salads You’ll Love
A great salad has five components. Think of these as the base for tons of other possibilities, and you will never be bored.
Start with Greens
Most of the time, salads include a base of greens, but it doesn’t have to! Shredded cabbage or spiralized root vegetables also make a tasty base for this method.
Begin with a big enough bowl so that serving the salad is easy. The amount of greens to pile in depends on how many servings you’re preparing. For more than four servings, layer the salad. Following the framework ensures that the servings toward the bottom will still have some toppings and saves you time by making a big salad one time.
The go-to I love is to build my salad in a container of greens that is about half full. I’ll add whatever veggies and keep the dressing on the side and eat right out of the container.
Pile on the Veggies
Go for color! Local and seasonal veggies chopped, diced, sliced, halved, whole, or spiralized make it easy to include fresh ingredients. Tap into your local community for sourcing the best produce for unmatched flavor and nutrition.
Increase the healthy power of your salad masterpiece by adding protein. Delicious veggie burgers, a scoop of hummus, beans or quinoa, walnuts, or hemp seeds are fabulous choices. Don’t forget that veggies provide us with a bioavailable protein package that is easy on our digestive systems.
Homemade salad dressings give you the power to control the extra calories and increase nutrition by adding fresh superfoods. Check out my formula for making a healthy homemade salad dressing that will add flavor, punch, and pizazz to any salad. A quick squeeze of citrus can go a long way in adding big flavor and an extra boost of alkalinity.
I always make enough salad to last for a few days. Dress each serving as needed is the key to maintaining both freshness and versatility. Leftover salad also makes a wonderful filling for a wrap or topping for a pizza!
Finish off this salad with a sprinkling of something fun, creamy, crunchy, and nutrient-dense! Skip the bagged croutons and reach for healthier salad toppings like avocado, vegan bacon, vegan cheese, crispy carrot chips, or even pickled vegetables.
For a salad to be satisfying, it needs to hit all the right notes: salt, sweet, crunchy, creamy, and tangy. Here are some favorite salad ingredient combinations:
- Greens: mesclun, spring mix, baby kale, shredded kale, arugula, spinach, romaine, green leaf
- Salty: lightly salted nuts, hummus, veggie burger, coconut bacon, vegan cheese
- Sweet: fresh fruit, dried fruit, roasted root veggies
- Crunchy: nuts + seeds, tortilla chips, coconut bacon, celery, carrots
- Creamy: avocado, nut butters, hummus, vegan cheese
- Tangy: citrus juice, vinegars, pickled veggies, vegan cheese
It is so exciting and fun to sit down in front of a colorful plate. The benefits of eating the rainbow are many, but my favorite is the beauty. It’s a great way to ensure that you are hitting all the right nutrient needs without researching or calculating. This simple salad framework will help you create salads you will enjoy and be excited to serve!
Salads are great for dinner, lunch, and even breakfast. So grab a bowl and start building a healthier, tastier salad everyone will love!
Chef Lauren D’Agostino creates, cooks, and serves all things plant-based and high-vibe. Her virtual cooking courses and plant-based transitions coaching offers non-judgmental support for hungry people who are overwhelmed by the idea of going plant-based or vegan. Learn the what, why, and how of beginning your plant-based journey by visiting laurendagostino.com