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How to Build A Salad

How to Build A Salad

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Building a salad is easy. It just takes a little time and preparation and you can have anything from a side dish to a wholesome filling meal. I build a new salad daily, trust me, once you get the hang of it, you'll be making tasty salads all the time.

There are so many variations, you can make simple salads or you can get creative, by tryng new vegetables, proteins, go vegan for a week or a month, get your kids involved in tasting new things, spiralize your favorite vegetables for a unique spin on your salad, or toss in exotic nuts and seeds. Then you can get creative with the oils and vinegars and vegetables in your dressings! Im telling you the possibilities are endless! I know I love to walk the produce section of my specialty grocery store and try and find things Ive never tried before, like Jack Fruit or Chayote Squash.

First off, start with choosing your greens. There are so many to choose from. You can experiment or go with a green leafy vegetable more widely distributed. Here are a few common greens you can choose from.

  • Romaine
  • Green Leaf
  • Spinach
  • Mixed Greens
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Swiss Chard 

Next are your vegetable and/or toppings. The variety and choices are endless and you can add as many as your belly can hold. Vegetables add extra vitamins and fiber to your salad, and fruit adds sweetness or acid. Its a wonderful idea to try and use vegetables in the colors of the rainbow. Here are some examples.

  • Tomatoes
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Oranges
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Summer Squash
  • Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Pineapple
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Edamame
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Grapes
  • Purple Sweet Pototoes
  • Purple Carrots
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Beets
  • Ginger
  • Jicama
  • Mushrooms

You can add a variety of grains to your salad to make it more filling or give it more depth and flavor. Here are a few I use. 

  • Brown Rice
  • Wild Rice 
  • Quinoa
  • Corn

Lastly add protein for a well balanced salad. If your a vegan or vegetarian there are lots of options such as -

  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Peas
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Quinoa (a protien rich grain)

Carnivores can enjoy -

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Eggs

 

While these are all tasty options, I do recommend you choose leaner proteins and still go heavy on the veg. Eating grass fed organic meats are also going to be lower in saturated fats and higher in good fat than their grain fed friends.

Lastly add some good fats. You may have noticed in my salad photos that I absolutely love avocado. I probably put them in almost every meal I eat. You can add them to your salad, smoothie or make a dressing with them. The other option for healthy fat is extra virgin olive oil. EVOO is full of antioxidants and vitamins.  Most of my dressings are made with these two fats as a base. Fat is our friend, dont be afraid!

After I have all my chosen ingredients cut, prepped and cooked. I put them in a large silver mixing bowl and I use tongs to make sure the dressing evenly coats my salad. Then I put on a plate or in a bowl and enjoy!

Here is a quick and easy Creamy Avocado Dressing you can put on any salad.

  • 1 Avocado
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 1/2 T White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Handful of Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded (optional)

Place everything in a glass mason jar, use you a hand blender for about a minute. If it is too thick add more water to thin it out. If you don't have a hand blender then toss everything into a blender and mix till smooth. 

I'd love to hear about your delicious salad creations, comment below or tag me on instagram!

Enjoy your salad and love your body!

 

Carrie ~ LettuceBeDifferent

 

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