We all know that salad is good for us and it is often the meal of choice when we’re trying to be good. Otherwise, it’s the stuff that gets left on your plate at the end of a meal or a last-minute edition to try and make a meal a bit more ‘green’.
However, salad can be so much more than lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. There are loads of different ways to liven up your salad, creating a fresh, tasty, filling and healthy meal that won’t make you feel like you’re missing out.
To help you fully appreciate just how great salad is and how it can be taken to the next level, here are some of our top tips that will ensure you make a meal out of it:
Mix up your proteins
Rather than just having a piece of chicken or some cottage cheese on a plate next to a load of lettuce, adding extra proteins to mix up your textures and bulk out your salad can help turn it into a proper meal. This is especially the case if you choose ingredients that have slightly contrasting flavours, such as chicken and crispy bacon.
For a great salad that uses some tasty and interesting proteins, try this BBQ salmon and crispy chickpea salad from How Sweet It Is. The crispy chickpeas tasty great with the soft flaky salmon and both can be served hot, warm or cold depending on what you fancy.
Skip the usual suspects
Who said that salad needs to include lettuce? There are loads of other ingredients you can try that are tasty and healthy, so try making your salads with some other vegetables. Things like green beans and broccoli make great alternatives to more traditional salad ingredients and could help you become the salad lover you always wanted to be.
If you want to try something a bit different, Queen of Tarts has not one, not two but three fantastic recipe ideas for roasted cauliflower salads, which can be served as sides or as full meals. They could seriously help you rethink what counts as a salad.
It’s hard to miss salads that contain grains nowadays, with couscous, quinoa and lentils becoming popular options for teaming with your veggies. If you haven’t started adding grains to your salads, you definitely need to. Not only do they pack in more flavour, they actually ensure your salad is more satisfying, keeping you fuller for longer.
When it comes to quinoa and lentils, these are also really good sources of protein so they are healthy options too, even if it might not feel that way when you’re tucking in. There are loads of salad recipes that make good use of grains, such as this super easy halloumi option from a Dash of Ginger, or this colourful and mouth-watering Moroccan-inspired option from Little Spice Jar.
There’s nothing more dull than finishing the delicious foods you’ve topped your salad with and being left with a boring pile of leaves. While we should all learn our lesson and thoroughly mix our salads to try and avoid this, you can also add some different flavour elements to avoid being left with several forkfuls of the same taste.
One great option is to add fruit to your salad. Not only does this mean you’ll get another texture in the mix, which is always a plus, the burst of sweetness can be a really lovely contrast and ensure each mouthful is as tasty as possible, saving you from being stuck with a boring few bites at the end of your meal.
Almost any fruit can be added to your salad, it’s just about finding the right combination of flavours. We love this pumpkin, feta and pomegranate salad from Eat Like a Girl, with the pomegranate seeds working so well with the salty cheese. If you want something even more out there, give this blackberry, bacon and blue cheese salad from The Recipe Critic a try.
Turn it into a treat
Who said salad can’t be a treat? There are plenty of ways to make salad seem a bit more decadent and ensure it sates those cravings for more unhealthy meals. While there’s no such thing as a healthy chocolate salad – we know, we’re heartbroken about this too – there are some great ways to turn your salad into something extra special.
One great option is to whip up this fab recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen for a cheeseburger salad. Complete with beef burgers, soft boiled eggs, bacon and any other toppings you want to throw in, this salad is sure to make you happy.
You can keep it healthy by cooking your burgers and bacon on an OptiGrill, which will drain away any excess fat, as well as make cooking even easier. If you want to finish it off with a small handful of chips, we won’t stop you – especially as the ActiFry makes super tasty and healthy chips.