By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
A vibrant, nutrient-packed salad is one of the best ways to get fruits and veggies (and much more!) into your diet. There are endless unique ways to create delicious salads that can be a side dish or stand on their own as a satisfying meal. Here are some of our favorite, colorful, and vitamin-rich salad recipes!
Salads can be an easy and fun way to get more of these in your diet:
- healthy fats
- quality proteins
But don’t get caught in a lettuce, cucumber, and tomato rut! Expand your palate to include:
- green, red, orange and yellow peppers
- red onions
- green beans
- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
- grapes, raisins, dried cranberries
- apple, pear, Asian pear
The more colors, the better! Remember, too, to choose organic vegetables and fruits as much as you can to avoid toxic herbicide residues.
You can also pack a nutritional punch by adding these types of goodies to your salads:
- seafood (sardines, anchovies, and salmon)
- whole grains (quinoa, barley, bulgar)
Choice of salad dressing is important, and can make or break your salad: an otherwise healthy salad can become polluted with the wrong dressing. If you depend on cheap, store bought dressings, you are likely consuming low quality oils (soybean, canola), artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives. Making homemade dressing may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually a really simple process. All you need is a great bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, some typical household seasonings, perhaps a a nice vinegar, and minute or two of your time. Give some of the dressings in the recipes below a try, and I bet you’ll be happy with your creations – your heart and waist will also thank you!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The Best Salad Topper
Using extra-virgin olive oil in dressings and to drizzle on top of raw (or cooked) veggies are two of my favorite ways to use it. I prefer using it as a topper on dishes as opposed to cooking with it, because doing so preserves the protective antioxidant polyphenols in the oil.
As I’m a bit of a purist, my favorite salad dressing is a simple drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil, and a few grinds of all-natural salt and some pepper. Sometimes I add a sprinkle of Dipping Spices, fresh lemon juice or make a balsamic vinaigrette to change things up.
If you like a vinaigrette on your salads, here’s a simple recipe:
Combine them in a jar and shake well, or whisk together in a bowl to emulsify. Then dress your salad for success!
Enjoy These Easy and Fun Recipes!
You can find even more heart-healthy recipes at Vervana.
© 2016, 2019 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.