What does the word “salad” make you think of? Do you picture wilting iceberg lettuce, shriveled cherry tomatoes, and a packet of fluorescent dressing?
This is the image that a lot of people have, and that makes me sad. With just a little bit of effort, a salad is not only a healthy choice, but a delicious one. There are all kinds of vegetables, fruits, oils, nuts, seeds and proteins out there, and so many combinations to try. This may be overwhelming, which is why I recommend working from recipes to start out.
The following 5 salads are my personal favorites, and they are all awesome for summer lunches. They can easily be adjusted for your dietary needs: add some chicken if you want extra protein, sub out the feta/goat cheese if you are vegan, or add anything else that you like (nuts, seeds, herbs, etc.).
The Ultimate Detox Salad by The Roasted Root
CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS DRESSING. So, I was strictly a bought-dressing gal until this year, when I finally started learning to do it myself. This one is my favorite. Maybe oil, lemon, mustard and maple syrup doesn’t sound promising, but it’s the most wonderful blend of sweet and savory. Oh, and the rest of the salad is good too! The bell pepper, red cabbage, carrots, broccoli, kale and parsley look so beautiful on the plate together that even the most social-media averse of you will want to boast about it on Instagram.
Triple Berry Summer Salad by Iowa Girl Eats
I sometimes eat this salad for weeks and weeks straight. I feel like Kristin looked inside my brain and combined all my favorite foods. Goat cheese! Berries! Spinach! Avocado! This one is easy to throw together and yet so good.
Kale, Barley & Feta Salad by Sweet Peas & Saffron
I will always have a soft spot for this salad, because it was Denise that taught me how to really enjoy raw kale: “Marinate your kale in the dressing for at least 30 minutes before eating it. It also helps to slice it into thin ribbons.” Not only is it tasty, it’s got such a range of textures: crumbly feta, crunchy seeds, crisp kale, soft barley and chickpeas. Warning: You may become obsessed with barley.
Pomegranate Pear Walnut Salad by The Happy Olive via Mobile Bay
Sweet, nutty, a little tart—there are so many flavors all at once in this dish. This article is also a great encouragement to go out and look for different kinds of oils and vinegars. Personally, I make my salad without dates, and I also reduce the amount of dried cranberries, but this depends on the level of sweetness you like.
Quinoa, Beet & Black Bean Burrito Bowls by The Roasted Root
If you find yourself lusting after Mexican food during the middle of the day, this salad is for you. (Yes, it says burrito bowl, but since it’s mostly veggies and quinoa I’m taking some creative license.) This is my most recent discovery, and it makes me say Oh My God a la Janice every time I eat it. The caramelized onions and beets make it kind of sweet, but they are perfectly balanced out by the tahini, kale and black beans.
Throw away your pre-packaged dressing and sad iceberg lettuce! Try one of these delicious combinations instead.
Which one sounds the best to you? Tweet us a picture of your salad @LitDarling!