Everyday Salads

Salads have become my go-to for lunch for quite a while now because they are:

                1. Filling
                2. A great way to get in a LOT of veggies
                3. Can have a ton of variety

I find that as long as I keep a variety of ingredients on hand, it’s pretty easy to keep salads interesting and I truly don’t get bored with eating a salad most days for lunch.

Salad Ingredients I always keep on hand:

  1. Spinach
  2. Mixed Greens
  3. Veggies – these are the veggies I love – the sky is the limit, but these are my go-to’s
    1. Grape tomatoes
    2. Colored peppers
    3. Cucumbers
    4. Shredded carrots
    5. Red and white onion
  4. Other: 
    1. Feta cheese
    2. Shredded Colby Jack cheese
    3. Olives (kalamata and green)
    4. Pepperonichi peppers
    5. Dried cranberries
    6. Sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans
    7. Salsa
    8. Plain Greek yogurt
  5. Meat:
    1. I almost always have grilled chicken
    2. Depending on the week, I might have beef taco meat or salmon (fancy!)
  6. Fruit – seasonal
    1. Fall/Winter/Spring – pears, apples, cutie oranges
    2. Summer – berries!

Note: this list above is my own preferences. I encourage you to keep on hand a variety of things YOU enjoy! That might look similar and it might look different than mine. Many of the things in this list have a variety of uses for me, so none of the perishable items are going bad in my fridge if I change it up or eat something different that day. My encouragement to YOU would be to find nutritious ingredients you LOVE that can be used in a few different ways! For example, some people might love throwing chopped broccoli in their salad or kale. I personally dislike both of these ingredients raw, and they don’t settle well in my stomach. In general, my body doesn’t handle cruciferous veggies well unless they are thoroughly cooked. So even though they would be great nutritious ingredients, I’m not going to eat them this way and will stick with what works for me.

 

Now I’ll give you FOUR salads I quickly throw together on a regular basis:

  1. Taco Salad:  (I rarely EVER have all of these ingredients on hand!! So my taco salad is usually a combination of these items, but not usually ALL!)
    1. I always do a mixture of greens as my base (I prefer mixed greens and spinach), and quickly chop them up so it’s easier to eat.
    2. Then I add:
      1. Beef taco meat or plain grilled chicken cut up
      2. Grape tomatoes (cut in half)
      3. White onion chopped
      4. Chopped peppers
      5. Chopped black olives
      6. Salsa
      7. Plain Greek Yogurt
      8. Black beans
      9. Corn
      10. Cilantro (if I have it on hand)
      11. A few tortilla chips crushed
      12. Shredded Colby jack cheese
  2. Greek Salad – I love me a good greek salad. There is something about the flavor of a greek salad, flatbread pizza, or pasta that is SO yummy!
    1. Mixed lettuce base
    2. Grape tomatoes
    3. Kalamata olives
    4. Cucumbers chopped
      1. (could totally throw in a little red onion or chopped pepper, but not necessary)
    5. Grilled chicken
    6. Feta cheese
    7. Quinoa (not necessary but it is yummy and a great way to include a healthy carb)
    8. Greek Dressing –
      1. Primal Kitchen puts out a great Greek dressing, but if you are in the mood to eat this all week, I love this quick and easy greek dressing from Katie’s Cucina
  3. Fruited Salad: Ok, to me, Fruit Salads with chicken are SO yummy in the summer, but don’t forget about them in the winter as well!! They can be SO good with sliced and chopped pears, apples, and even cutie oranges! Here is my basic recipe:
    1. Mixed chopped greens
    2. Red onion chopped
    3. Chopped fruit (any berries, or the above-mentioned fruit – can mix or do just 1 type)
    4. Chopped nuts (any of the above listed I will use and love)
    5. Chopped veggies – I always think it’s hard to know what other veggies to throw in with this type of salad, but I find mild-sweet flavored veggies work well. I love to add chopped cucumber or yellow pepper personally
    6. Cranberries (these can be really tasty with pear or apple)
    7. Feta cheese – or goat cheese if that’s your thing! (I don’t love it, sorry!)
    8. Chopped Chicken breast
    9. Dressing – Dressings just make or break a salad, don’t they? You can go traditional poppyseed (check Pinterest for some healthier options) or I often will throw together a combination of:
      1. Extra virgin olive oil
      2. Apple Cider Vinegar
      3. A touch of spicy brown mustard
      4. Salt/pepper/garlic to taste
        1. Most homemade dressings have a combo of these ingredients, and the vinegar and mustard give it some NICE flavor! Start with a Tablespoon or two of the olive oil and add just a bit of vinegar and mustard until you have the amount of flavor you like! It’s so easy to throw together and works really well with the fruit in this type of salad!
    10. And if you want to live on the wild side, add a little bit of crumbled up bacon to this as well. 😉
  4. A Little Bit of Everything: This is my Basic salad – like I’m in a hurry and I just got to fuel my body and throw something together quickly, but I also want it to taste GOOD! Here’s what I do:
    1. Mixed greens (of course!)
    2. Chopped peppers (I always keep some chopped on hand for my salads and my eggs)
    3. Sliced grape tomatoes
    4. Chopped Cucumbers
    5. Red onion (love just a bit of this flavor)Green olives with pimento sliced
    6. Pepperonichi peppers sliced
    7. Shredded carrot
    8. Chicken breast diced
    9. Dressing – again, we are talking about quick here – so I grab Balsamic vinaigrette or Greek Goddess dressing from Primal Kitchen and I am good to go!

I will find some fancier recipes occasionally for get-togethers, but these are on regular rotation in my home and I would honestly choose them any day over most any lunch!! Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to answer! I hope this helps bring some variety to your daily menu!!