Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Build a Nutrient Dense Salad

By popular demand, I am presenting to you my method of building a nutrient dense salad.   I think it's pretty self explanatory, but please feel free to ask questions and I will answer them in the comment section.

I try to make a large salad for my husband and I every night for dinner. He eats about 2/3 of it and I 1/3. Without dressing, it keeps very well in the refrigerator, so you can make it in the morning and enjoy a stress free dinner. I usually serve it followed by some other cooked vegan food,  like roasted peppers stuffed with cous cous, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms. But we try to eat the salad first.

The Base: Greens
These make up about 75% of the volume of our salads. You can add any or all of the following and I highly recommend keeping all of this on hand in your refrigerator and changing your mix up every day.

romaine lettuce
spring lettuce mix
kale-I like to chop it up really well
baby spinach
bibb lettuce

The Toppers (the other 25% of the volume of the salad):
(1) Extra Raw Veggies
Any or all of the following, depending upon your mood.

shredded or matchstick carrots
any other you prefer
raw red onion

(2) Beans
I open, wash and drain one can of beans almost every time I make a big salad.You don't need to use the whole can, you can use half and put the rest in a lunchbox if you have a bean loving kid, or just save some for another use.

(3) Seeds or Nuts
1 ounce for 2 people, that's it.

Pumpkin Seeds, aka Pepitas
Sunflower Seeds
Chopped Walnuts
Sliced/Slivered Almonds

(4) Sweet and Chewy
Just a little, and only if you like your food sweet, like I do.

Dried Fruit-diced
Goji Berries-my new favorite

(5) The Gravy
These are things that you can add to your salad if you have them on hand. They turn an ordinary salad into something really special.

leftover roasted veggies
leftover whole grains or potatoes
fruit like apples or strawberries or orange segments
roasted beets
roasted Brussels sprouts
hearts of palm
artichoke hearts (water packed)

I dress the salad with one of the infinite number of no-oil salad dressings. I guess I'll have to do a seperate post on that!

What have I missed?


Bonnie said...

Thanks for all the ideas. My salads are generally same old same old - pretty boring. I'm grateful for all the suggestions.

Leanne said...

Yum! Thanks for the ideas. It's easy to get into a rut with salads, so new ideas are always good, although I have to say I never get sick of them!

Lynne said...

Thanks Wendy! I am looking forward to the no-oil salad dressings...when I started making them, they all tasted amazing. Now I think I am trying to get too creative with the flavours and they are just gross. Help!

Lynne said...

Oh, and to answer your question...fresh herbs! They make a ho-hum salad sing for me.

Allison said...

Since you posted about the salad and will be posting about no oil salad dressings, can you start a post about soups as well? I am following E2L and really haven't found an easy soup yet that I like to make following E2L easier.


Mike S said...

You left off the raw onions!

michelle said...

Avocado! I'm trying to maintain my weight so it's very important for me. But the fat helps you absorb the nutrients in the greens and veggies!

Sarah Carere said...

I always need something sour in my salad, so if it's not in the dressing I add olives, pickles, roasted red peppers, pickled veggies etc. To me, that is definitely "the gravy"!

Rosemary Evergreen said...

Fresh fruit, too! Halved grapes, chunked cantaloupe, plum, peach, apple... just about any fruit makes a salad fantastic for me.

lea said...

I love chickpeas in my salad- but before adding them I heat them in a little non-sick skillet for 2-3 minutes. It really brings out the flavor!

Annaleigh Belle said...

Trader Joe's has IQF artichoke hearts for a good price -- you can put them in a little warm water to thaw (or just leave them out for a bit) and they're a nice luxury. The same for their asparagus.

Jessica said...


I like to mush a good one into lime and a pinch of salt for a yummy dressing!

Anonymous said...

Capers, hemp and/or chia seeds, and avocado!

Anonymous said...

maybe you could provide the details of the food groups and calories,fat,fiber,protein information. that would help.

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