Many people hesitate to eat salads regularly because of the idea that they have to look or taste a certain way. While salads can have an unfortunate misconception of being boring, that’s far from the truth. Keeping a few tips in mind can help you create a salad bursting with flavor and nutrients. 

5 steps to make a nutritious and delicious salad

In a salad rut? Follow these 5 simple steps to boost your salad creativity and enjoyment. 

1. Choose your foundation

The first step to building your salad is to choose which greens you’d like to use for the bed. A good approach is to use at least two different types of greens, if not more. For example, baby spinach, kale, arugula, romaine, and butter lettuce make great salad greens.

Choosing a variety of greens will help optimize nutrition, but also give your salad more texture, flavor, and color right from the start. It’s also a great way to incorporate fresher greens with some older ones you may be wanting to use up from your refrigerator. 

Plus, a salad doesn’t always have to be a big bowl of leafy greens. You might choose to use a few greens mixed with some cooked grains, like quinoa, barley, millet, or farro. Alternatively, you could do a foundation of sliced veggies, like tomatoes and basil leaves, to make more of a caprese-style salad.

2. Pick your protein

A protein-rich item should be a main component, particularly if you’re making the salad your meal and not a side dish. High quality protein foods are not only important to include nutritionally, but also help make your salad more satiating. 

Some ideas include baked tofu cubes, shredded chicken, canned beans, cooked lentils, or hard-boiled egg slices.

3. Add color

Combining a variety of colors is an easy way to boost the aesthetic aspect of your salad, and also incorporate a ton of nutrition. 

One of the best ways to add color to salads is to include an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can find the full rainbow in fresh produce, ranging from red tomatoes and strawberries, to orange carrots, yellow peppers, purple onions, and blueberries. 

This is the perfect opportunity to try the newest addition to NatureSweet tomatoes, the Eclipses. These are a deeper reddish-brown, 100% greenhouse gas grown tomato with a bold flavor and perfect for slicing into salads.

No matter which fruits and veggies you choose, you’ll enjoy the added benefits of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. 

4. Mix textures and flavors

Having several textures in the same bowl is pleasing to your palate. It’s easy to achieve this with salads because you can add so many different ingredients.

Depending on the dressing or overall flavor goals for your salad, this may include chopped raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and radishes, combined with softer ones like tomatoes, cooked potato wedges, and avocado. 

For more crunch, add seasoned and roasted chickpeas, croutons, walnuts, cashews, chopped almonds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or hemp hearts. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of protein and healthy, unsaturated fats. 

Amplify the flavors of your salad by seasoning your greens with things like salt and pepper. You might also incorporate fresh herbs, like parsley, basil, or cilantro.

5. Pair the perfect dressing

No matter what you’ve included in the bowl, the dressing is what brings your whole salad together. Having several different dressings on hand, or in mind to make, for the week ahead can also help prevent boredom as each one provides a different flavor and feel.

You might choose a creamy dressing, like ranch, greek aioli, or a cashew-based cheese sauce, or a lighter combination of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. To prevent sogginess, wait to dress your salad until right before you’re ready to eat it.

Building better salads is achievable with a step-by-step approach to include more color, texture, and flavor. Give some of the ideas above a try next time you’re craving a new salad creation, and you might be surprised by just how delicious and nutritious it is.

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About the Author
Melissa Mitri
Melissa is a health writer with over 12 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She specializes in helping women move away from restrictive habits that lead to vicious yo-yo weight cycles. Melissa enjoys writing about health, nutrition, and fitness with the goal of simplifying complex health topics for the reader. You can find out more about Melissa at www.melissamitri.com

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