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5 Easy & Healthy Upgrades for Your Salads

5 Easy & Healthy Upgrades for Your Salads

Bored with your regular platter of lettuce, tomato and cucumber? How about adding more color, texture, flavor and nutrition value to your salads with these simple additions:

Brown rice: Toss in ¼ to ½ cup of freshly cooked rice to almost any salad, and it becomes more substantial and satisfying. The rice gives you protein and dietary fiber, and tastes nice and nutty. Brown rice loves to be coated with extra virgin olive oil and paired with fresh basil and mint. The rest of the ingredients are up to you to add. I love brown rice salad with sugar snap peas and tender carrots.

A handful of beans. Kidney beans or chickpeas, lentils or edamame—there’s no easier way to add a boost of protein and fiber to salads than to sprinkle some beans on your salad platter. Tip: dress the beans while they are still warm, for better flavor.

Kale. Many of us find kale too chewy and not exactly appealing in salads. But if you buy the sweeter, more tender variety of kale, and slice it into thin ribbons, you will discover a beautiful way to jazz up your salads.  Tip: Rub the leaves with oil and salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes to let the dressing seep in.

Walnuts: Any salad that features apples pretty much begs for walnuts! But you knew that. Do also remember that walnuts work beautifully well with soft cheese, offsetting its soft texture with their toasty, warm, nuttiness. I am, however, not a fan of using walnuts—or in fact any nuts—with a lentil salad. If you have more ideas for using walnuts in your salad, please share.

Quinoa: You need whole grains to get your daily quota of fiber, protein, iron, calcium and other important minerals. Quinoa fits the bill perfectly! It is delicious, and really easy to use: just add tomatoes, herbs, thinly sliced red onions, and cucumber. Psst: slices of fresh mango pair delightfully with quinoa!

Related:
How to Make Killer Salads

 

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

69 comments

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5:52PM PDT on Oct 18, 2013

Thanks for these great ideas.

12:01PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

I am a huge salad fan. The only two things I refuse to use in my salads is animal products and animal products. Yes I know, I said that twice. It was worth repeating. LOL

9:43AM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

How about some pepita's (roasted pumpkin seeds), cashews, sunflower seeds, avocados, feta cheese, grated sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled bleu cheese, radishes, dried cranberries, raisins, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, sliced hard boiled egg, sliced pickled beets, sliced raw zucchini, marinated artichoke hearts, red onion, scallion onion, raw cauliflower, oranges, apples, pears, bell peppers, purple cabbage, carrots, sugar snap peas, corn, asian baby corn, sliced jicama, olives, cilantro. Fruit salads also have an endless variety of things to choose from and combine, pineapple, kiwi, mangos, plums, peaches, bananas, melons, grapes, nuts, strawberries, blueberries, on and on. The combinations of fruit and vegetable ingredients, types of lettuces and choice of salad dressings are endless, you can be as creative as you want to be. That is the wonderful thing about salads, and why they are one of my favorite things. I agree with the idea that at least one meal of the day should be a large fresh salad of some kind, beautiful, healthy and delicious.

11:20PM PDT on Oct 11, 2013

Black eyed peas are good in a salad.

9:31PM PDT on Oct 11, 2013

ty

8:38PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

mouth watering ideas!

6:00PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

Thanks, tasty choices.

5:40PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

thanks

2:55PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

I mix things up when it comes to salads---lots of variety is good! Thanks

1:39PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

Chia seeds, too....ty

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