Make your Salad Epic

It sure isn’t easy to eat healthy if your food tastes like crap, is it?

One of the biggest hurdles to eating healthy is picturing days on end of eating carrot sticks, celery, and oh god, not another salad. Healthy is boring to many people. So why stick to it.

If you’re watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (and you should be, it’s fabulous!), the local station DJ made a similar comment to Jamie about not wanting to eat lettuce to be healthy. In reality (as Jamie’s trying to show), there are so many great tasting recipes out there that aren’t salads, but still healthy.

Let’s call a spade a spade. A salad can be an easy and healthy part of a healthy diet, and most healthy people eat a lot of salad. Not all salads are healthy – there are plenty of unhealthy salads out there too – some have as much fat as a quarter pounder. Think taco salad, caesar salad, anything with a really creamy dressing.

And if you’re picturing your salad the typical iceberg lettuce, carrot, maybe tomato with Kraft salad dressing, forget it. That’s not a salad to me.

My point is if you’re going to make yourself a salad, make it EPIC. Make it memorable. Make it so delicious that you actually crave that salad the next day. Make it so epic you forget that it’s healthy – it’s just good food.

So, what makes a salad epic?

  • Start with your base of lettuce. Combining types of lettuce makes it interesting and adds different flavours. Mine right now has red lettuce and spinach. I love the buttery texture of the red lettuce. And I bought if for only ¢63. Not bad!
  • Add protein. Here’s a chance to make your protein rock. Leftover roast chicken. Chicken or turkey bacon. Hardboiled egg. Sliced flank steak. Leftover roast. The more flavourful, the more it adds to your salad. I often use 2 proteins – chicken and 1 hardboiled egg. Yum.
  • Lots of veggies. But only veggies you like, because really, who wants to pick veggies out of your own salad.
  • Sprouts on top. I love a good sprout – it gives the salad texture and a nutty flavour.
  • Nuts – sliced almonds, walnuts, whatever goes with your flavours.
  • Something warm – don’t underestimate the impact of warm food on your cold ingredients. Either I heat up my protein, or I will add steamed green beans, or other steamed veggies.
  • Something sweet. I don’t always do this, but if you want to kick it up a notch, add some dried cranberries or dried cherries for a little punch. Edit: Cut up fruit, such as apples or pears also add some sweetness with less sugar than dried fruit. (Thanks Carmen for your comment – I hadn’t included fruit!)
  • Something tart. I use goat cheese (since I’m non-dairy, it’s the only cheese I can eat). The goat cheese gives it a creamy texture, but also a little tartness. If you don’t like goat cheese (really??), you can get tart from the salad dressing as well. Plus, with the something warm (see above 2 steps), the goat cheese melts a bit.
  • Last but not least, the dressing. The dressing is THE most important part of any salad, I think. Which is why I’ve given up store bought salad dressings. They taste HORRIBLE after you’ve made your own, and it takes about as long to make your own as it takes to walk down the aisle and pull one of those nasty bottles off the shelf. I’ve put a number of my favourite on this site, and love to hear new recipes. So please, don’t be selfish, SHARE! Here’s a list of mine (click for the recipe):

Apple Cider Dressing

Green Dressing (on my salad right now!)

House Dressing

Asian Dressing

The one mistake that I often make is putting too much salad dressing on my salad. But I’m trying to curb that habit!

I’m eating lunch while I’m writing, and my salad is EPIC! I even remembered to take a picture (woohoo!) so the image you see is actually my salad. I only have egg in it, and some chicken would have made it even better. I had leftovers from last night’s dinner in the fridge, and I craved a salad instead.

And just so you don’t think I’m blowing smoke, last week I offered to make one of my salad dressings for a dinner party with friends. And I got compliments on my salad dressing, yes I did.

So here’s my call out to all of you. To my friends. I want to prove to you how epic my salads are, so please, send me an email and I will have you over for lunch to experience one of my salads. Yes, I said “experience”, cause that’s what it is. I expect my lunch calendar to be full soon!

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