What does this word bring to mind? Lettuce, cucumber, tomato and feta cheese? EHH! Wrong!
Let’s clear a few things up:
Lettuce is boring. Stop buying it.
Chicken on a bed of spinach is NOT and never will be a salad no matter how hard it tries.
Creamy dressing atop lettuce and feta cheese does not a healthy meal make. Stop lying to yourself.
Now that you have accepted the above, let me teach how to transform your salad into a meal you won’t be able to live without. Trust me, you will thank me for it. Money back guarantee 😛
I unashamedly LOVE eating an almost raw salad at least once a day. Someone once asked me to make her the exact same one as me, because I eat it like it’s chocolate.
I happen to be pretty boring and a creature of habit, and I am happy to eat the same salad every day. Almost. But I want to help you keep it interesting. So, lucky for you, you will get some variety.
Here is my guide to making the perfect salad!
Choose your base for your salad by ascertaining your activites for the day as well as your other meals. If you plan to go out for Italian food, and you are having toast for breakfast, then choose a leaf base, like rocket or baby spinach.
If you are going to gym, and/or eating fairly light for the rest of the day, opt for a grain or starch base, like cous cous, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta.
Staples like onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumber are a must in my salads.
You might want to invest in a spiraliser. It is my most favourite kitchen utensil.
I use it to spiralise up zucchini, or baby marrow as we call it in South Africa, which normally I wouldn’t eat raw.
And who likes to eat big pieces of carrots anyway? No-one! Spiralise those too!
Grate some fresh beetroot too. Fresh beetroot is so very delicious, and it’s good for you!
If it isn’t month end, and you have some extra money to splurge on slightly more expensive vegetables, do yourself the favour of your life, and buy tenderstem brocolli, baby corn and mange-tout. If you are brave enough, you can even chuck in some fine green beans.
Don’t you think this sounds considerably better than your boring old Greek salad? We aren’t done yet, don’t worry!
If you are vegan, I know this is probably your least favourite word. I hate it too. Because it always comes from the mouth of ignorant meat eaters, who want to desperately find something wrong with your chosen lifestyle of compassion and care. Ok, I am getting riled up now, so lets revert to food.
Protein. Yes.A handful of chickpeas, cannelini beans, or any type of beans really, will make a great add to a salad, and ups the calories a little.
If you have the time, you can even saute a few cubes of tofu, or even better, add tofeta.
I am a certified nut-a-holic. But a handful of raw cashews or pecans in your salad is normal. Almonds are nice too, but wouldn’t be my first choice. And macadamias – well those are reserved for irritating my boyfriend with my apparent loud crunching.
Seeds might be bird food, but don’t diss them. Even you were once just a little seed 😉 Sunflower and flax seeds are both high in nutrients and goodness in their own special way, and it won’t harm you to add a teaspoon to your food.
And now for my favourite part ..
You are simply not permitted to add store bought salad dressing to my salad. Try a drizzle of olive oil, a half a teaspoon of garlic, salt&pepper, and basil. You will not regret it.
A teaspoon of hummus or cashew cream, along with some sliced avocado (if your stomach so desires and your calorie counter permits) completes this beautiful creation.
Now obviously, you can (and should) mix it up a little. But try to actually keep your salad a salad please? And not a heap of oily, fatty food with a side of spinach!
“While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon” ~ Gregory Maguire