SALAD – My Go-To Easy, Healthy Meal
HOW IT BEGAN
I don’t remember when the obsession started, think I started eating what I thought was ‘salad’ in high school when I would try to be healthy. This would just be some iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and dressing. SO BORING now looking back!
When I got into my college years, starting in San Diego – my burrito obsession began. But I would still eat relatively healthy most of the time. And salads were still a big one for me. And why?
Because I was lazy and/or did not know how to cook. Salads are not really ‘cooking’ in my eyes since there is no heat involved (sometimes). It’s just chopping and mixing. Little prep work was best for my very impatient self.
THEN, I also discovered SALAD BARS. Ooooooh hooooo man, do I love a good salad bar! Just all the ingredients you could ever imagine, just sitting there are pretty and ready for you to create your masterpiece! My favorite was the fake crab meat. Don’t know why but I love that shit so much. Nom Nom.
I used to joke about how I wanted to have a salad bar just fully stocked in my home. This would actually still be an epic dream come true, but I don’t know if I would ever feel comfortable paying other people to stock my home with cut up vegetables, rather than just doing it myself.
The closest, coolest experience to getting this was when I got the opportunity to farm at Moonlight Acres in New Jersey, a family run organically grown produce, herb, and flower farm! All of the most delicious and nutritious salad ingredients were growing across the 2-acre farm. I got to experience what real, local, fresh-picked, organic vegetables tasted like and what it made your body FEEL like. Kale, arugula, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and so much more. This garden abundance would feed the whole family the entire season! So grateful for all I got to learn and experience. 🙏🏼
Anyways, here is…
WHY SALADS ARE MY MAIN JAM:
1. Minimal cooking involved! – Prep time can be as small as 5 minutes! Or maybe a bit more if you are adding in beans, quinoa, rice, etc.
2. ALL THE COLORS – I love colors. And there are not many other meals that provide such an abundance of them at once. So pretty.
3. A variety of different tastes you can get in one meal or one bite! (Depending on how many ingredients you add)
4. You can’t really f*ck it up. This usually goes along with the no cooking involved aspect. Whatever you throw in will taste like its beautiful raw farm and probably like the dressing you add.
5. CRUNCH! I love eating crunchy things. Sometimes I just want to eat something just to feel the crunch! Is that weird? Whatever. Crunchy is the best.
6. There are NO RULES when it comes to making a salad, just have fun with it! See what crazy creation you can make!
7. They’re nutritious! If you are looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, I feel like eating more salads is one the easiest way.
Some people say salad is boring. I say that if you think that, you’re doing it alllll wrong.
MY TOP INGREDIENT OPTIONS:
Here are all the things that I have/would/do throw into my salads (avoiding meat and dairy):
- Beet greens
- Radish greens
(These three greens are packed with my nutrients for your body than romaine. Iceburg lettuce provides little to no nutritional value really)
(Grains are delicious in salads! I add them when I’m feeling less lazy. Or cook a large amount to use throughout the week for whatever)
(My two go-to root crops to add, also because they are pretty inexpensive produce wise! But if I get to splurge a bit more I can add some of the below too)
- Bell peppers
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds, chia seeds, or flaxseeds
(LOVE seeds and nuts in salads! More crunch babay!)
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- Green beens, purple beans, and yellow beans
- Any type of fish really
- Husk cherries
- Orange slices
- Dried versions of the above
- Dried cranberries
(Fruit is AWESOME in salad! Some natural sugars to bite into between all the veggies in nuts. Nom nom).
Well, there ya have it. I’m probably even forgetting a BUNCH more ingredients too.
My love for burritos will always be there, but now that I avoid gluten and cheese, I hardly ever have them. But it’s fine because basically if you unwrap that burrito, throw it in a bowl, and add lettuce – BOOM there’s a delicious salad!
My go-to dressing right now is Apple Cider Vinegar and lemon juice. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has too many health benefits to even start to list. It deserves its own post someday. But I would recommend choosing a lighter, more natural dressing, such as balsamic vinaigrette. Salads with the wrong dressing and too much of it can be packed with a lot more calories than you may be looking for.
Alright, end salad appreciation post. It actually really makes me want to make a salad. To do your best for your health and the planet – buy organic produce for your salad! Even better if you can buy it from a local farmers market!
But, really, salads are great and I hope you try out some own funky concoctions for yourself! 🥗🤙🏼