The Anatomy of a Great Salad | Health Savvy Life | Posh Kitchen





I have always loved a great salad. Even as a child I inhaled vegetables—hot or cold—so salads were right up my alley. And people were always impressed with how many ingredients I could add or how colorful and fresh my homemade salads always looked. Though the content of what I include has changed as I’ve gotten older (I used to mix French and Ranch dressings. Ew!), I still get lots of compliments on how yummy my salads look. And they ARE, in fact, pretty delicious. But what’s more important for me now is that they are super healthy. There are a few components that can make a salad both really yummy and really good for you at the same time. 

This is what the anatomy of a great salad looks like to me:

Fresh Greens

I prefer dark leafy greens: arugula, spinach, kale, mixed greens, and baby spring mix. It’s also good to add as many healthy green veggies as possible, like cucumber, broccoli, green pepper, brussels and cold peas.

Vibrant color

I love to add lots of color to my salads—it makes them pretty and makes them pop! I tend to lean towards bright orange, red and yellow peppers, rich red cranberries, strawberries, deep blue blueberries, red or green apples and even the whitish brown of mushrooms. Mandarin oranges and watermelon are also reeeeeallly great in the summer.

Texture
It’s a beautiful thang when a salad has a little crunch. Often darker greens are softer--even when they are fresh (except for kale), so I get that great texture in the form of nuts and seeds. I love to add walnuts, sliced almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds.

Protein

It is important to make sure you’re getting as many of the nutrients your body needs as possible in a salad (especially if you practice a vegetarian or vegan diet), so protein is key. Here is where a yummy nutrient dense fruit like an avocado can come in handy. If you’re a Vegetarian who consumes dairy, a boiled egg is a great addition; a Pescetarian like myself could add chunks of tuna or grilled salmon. And for the Carnivores, grilled chicken or lean turkey slices are good options.

To top off my salads, I’ll usually use a light vinaigrette—Ken’s Lite Options and Newman’s Own Raspberry Walnut salad dressing are my current faves. Or I’ll do a simple olive oil & lemon juice, or olive oil & vinegar mix and season with salt and pepper. Feel free to get creative with mixing your own dressings! That is always better than pre-bottled. Worth noting: there is no cheese listed in any of these notes, though I know it’s added to a lot of salads. I’ve slowly stopped consuming dairy (outside of eggs) pretty much ever since I completed the Whole30 and realized how much better my skin behaves when I leave it out of my diet (fewer pesky flares of eczema). Dairy is not so good for us for a number of reasons, which you can read about here or here if you’re interested in learning more.

So are you inspired to run to the kitchen and put together a great salad?! I hope so! What are your favorite things to add to yours?