I get really excited about big healthy, hearty salads. In fact, I enjoy a vibrant salad for lunch every day (and often with dinner too).
Rather unfortunately, many people’s only experience with salad resembles a bit of limp lettuce, some waxed cucumber and over-sized tasteless tomato (which is probably genetically modified). Added to that, fast food places tend to serve the unheathiest salad dressings ever (laden with sugar and the worst sort of vegetable oil). Thankfully, many of us have been blessed to find more conscious ways of eating.
For many, salads play a major role in health, offering a vast array of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and protein. With so many different plant foods available in our world we could literally have a different dish every day of the year. If you want to stay healthy, and eat wholesome, nutritious salad every day, then celebrate it; experiment; explore; be bold; don’t be afraid to try new things; find what works for you and let those positive-living vibes ripple outwards! Salads can be truly inspiring, leaving you feeling refreshed and nourished.
In this article, I am sharing plenty of ideas and tips to keep your salad creations vibrant and inspirational. The tips below are designed to inspire your imagination. So, mix and match and let your imagination run wild.
Top tips for creating deliciously healthy salads
1. Use the freshest, organic ingredients that you can find
This ensures optimal vibrancy, taste and nutritional value. Visit your local farmers market or health food store and buy whatever is in season. Be sure to try things you’ve never even heard of too. If your local options are limited, then start growing your own (even if you have a balcony on a 5th floor building, you can grow in pots).
2. Discover healthy home-made salad dressings
Home-made dressings can jazz up your salads no end; this helps to ensure that you get a good healthful portion of essential fats and protein. Make dressings up in advance and they could last you a couple of weeks at a time. A good salad dressing can turn a nice salad into the most delicious salad ever. A balanced salad dressing usually consists of the follow basic ingredients:
- healthy fat (in the form of cold-pressed oil, avocado or seed/nut butter)
- lemon, lime or vinegar (such as raw apple cider vinegar)
- something salty like himalayan salt/sea salt or tamari
and then a dancing combination of one or more of the following
- herbs (like parsley, coriander leaf or mint)
- warming spices (like ginger or turmeric)
For my FAVOURITE delicious salad dressing and a great recipe, check out my video here…
3. Add high protein raw nuts and seeds
Brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews macadamia nuts, hemp seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed are all excellent additions to a salad. These contain healthy plant based fats, essential for health and make a salad feel more filling (as well as tasty).
4. Add a few olives or some ripe avocado
Olives & avocado make for a healthy infusion of plant fats. These additions alone can transform an otherwise un-happening salad.
5. Use fresh herbs
Basil, coriander leaves, parsley, garden mint, fennel leaves and chervil can turn a plain ol’ salad into a divine plate sent from heaven! Use liberally and to your hearts content. They all contain incredible beneficial healing properties.
6. Add inventive cooked things
If you like adding cooked (warm or cold) things to jazz up a salad, try adding cooked beans, chickpeas, cold new potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice or quinoa. These can help boost your protein intake whilst giving you that ‘really satiated feeling’. Add them warm or cold, for different moods.
For my favourite warm quinoa salad check out this delicious, high protein recipe here…
7. Serve salad on a bed of hot rice ,millet or quinoa
For a main meal, consider serving your salad on a bed of hot rice, millet or quinoa (try drizzling on some hemp oil or coconut oil along with a splash of tamari first, and then add the salad on top). I absolutely love salad as part of my main meal, especially with a thick, creamy, flavourful avocado or tahini type dressing.
8. Embrace veggies that you wouldn’t always think of
Putting veggies like cauliflower, broccoli or fennel can work wonders; but it might help to chop them really small and mix in a creamy salad dressing (like tahini sauce) first.
This ‘Thick Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Sauce’ is an excellent way to use veggies like cauliflower. Be generous with the tahini sauce too…
9. Grated veggies are brilliant in a salad
Perfect veggies for grating include carrot, beetroot, swede (rutabaga), courgette, sweet potato & kohlrabi. Grated veggies are brilliant in a salad. You can also use a potato peeler to do fancy strips.
10.When you are in a hurry go for super simple – less is more
If you are in a rush, create a stack of chopped veggie sticks. Ideal finger food. Cucumber, carrot, celery and sweet pepper all slice nicely for dipping. This works very well if you have a pot of hummus, tapenade or avocado dip on hand. It’s the ideal thing to take out when you are on the road or want something healthy for lunch at work or college.
11. Create it with love! Perhaps one of the most important points of all! Everything is energy. Whatever you do, be present with every moment of creating your salad. Or as best you can. Making food with love will definitely make it taste better. You’ll feel better for making and sharing it too.
12 super healthy salad ideas…
A ginger beet extravaganza with an almond butter dressing: Ginger Beet Salad
A mega immune boosting salad that tastes divine: Superfood Salad to Boost Your Immune System Fast
How to make Hemp & Parsley dressing: Hemp & Parsley Dressing Recipe
Rainbow kale salad with the best ever mint dressing: Rainbow Kale Mint Salad
A delicious cauliflower salad with a thick tahini dressing: Cauliflower & Tahini Salad
A super detox salad with walnut & sun-dried tomato sauce: Delicious Detox Salad
A delicious raw-slaw salad with cauliflower: Ginger Raw-Slaw with Beetroot & Cauliflower
Wrap it all together in a raw kale burrito: The ‘Look After Yourself Kale Wrap’
A super healthy raw-slaw: “Super Healthy Raw-Slaw” with fennel, celery & carrot
A tasty kale salad: Summer Kale Salad with Hemp & Parsley Dressing
The perfect high protein meal: Warm Quinoa Medley Salad
A super healthy avocado salad dip: Best Ever Guacamole
Of course, this is just a start – a bouncing board for inspiration. I hope that you find many more ideas on your journey to ever greater levels of wellness.