I mean, a “X Ways to Spruce Up Your Salad” list could easily read as follows: chicken tenders, candied nuts, bacon bits, bacon strips, garlic cheddar croutons, cheddar cheese, all the cheese, tortilla strips, wonton crisps…
Do you feel me?
The purpose of this (healthy) list is twofold. It will allow you to, 1) make your salad healthier, and/or 2) make your healthy salad less boring and sucky.
Tough love. Sorry. Let’s get to the green.
Bump Up the Base:* ditch your tired baby spinach, romaine or, worse yet, iceberg (AKA salad water)
- Arugula: beautiful and peppery; buy it from a farmers market if you can, anywhere else if you can’t even.
- Herb mix: I heart the pre-washed packages of baby greens with fresh herbs tossed in.
- Cabbage mix, shredded brussels, and/or broccoli slaw: add these crunchy mixes into any of your usual go-tos (all available pre-prepped at most groceries; HEB has a great selection).
Twist Your Toppings: when was the last time you were excited to grab a baby spinach, cucumber, an cherry tomato salad out of your break room fridge? Precisely.
- Pickled beets/onions/anything, roasted red peppers, olives, capers, hearts of palm: these all pack a punch a flavor with minimal calories, plus they can be found pre-prepped at the grocery!
- Feta, goat, blue cheese: strongly flavored cheeses like this means you need to use less to get tonz-o-flavor, as compared to something lame like reduced fat shredded cheddar.
- Grilled onions, carrots, asparagus, kale, mushrooms, etc.: grilling adds a certain smoky satisfaction to any veggie and, thereby, your newly awesome salad. Buy them grilled from the pre-prepared section of your grocery or DIY Sunday night to last you through the week!
Pops of Protein: an entrée salad is incomplete without a satisfying dose of protein, vegetarian or not.
- Healthier chicken salad, healthier tuna salad: I heard you like salad, so I put some salad on your salad. (If you get this reference, plz comment so we can start being friends.)
- Ground beef, ground bison, ground turkey: turn your salad into a deconstructed burger, which is second only to a constructed burger.
- Black beans/brown rice, chickpeas/barley: first combination lends itself quite well to a healthified taco salad, the latter is very Mediterranean. Both are yum, complete vegetarian proteins.
Dressed to the Nines: you can make or break a healthy salad with the dressing. Don’t F it up.
- Hummus: speaking of Mediterranean, this is a great way to dress up your salad while adding some protein and healthy fat.
- Salsa/pico de gallo: low calorie, vegetable-based, and full of flavor.
- Tessemae’s brand: wholesome ingredients and culinarily-inspired flavors.
How do y’all make your weekday salads something you look forward to? We’re all in this together, Petite Professionals.
*Alternative title was “I’m All About That Base,” but I think we can all agree that we’re over it.