If your idea of salad is lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers dripping in a little bit of water, you might be in the ‘salad is boring’ camp. Or, at the very least, eat it because it is healthy, not because you like it.
However, salad doesn’t need to be boring – it can be one of the most delicious things you’ve eaten in a while! A great salad will have a mix of flavors, some delicious garnish, and not a soggy lettuce leaf in sight.
Many people make the mistake of preparing 5-7 salads that are exactly the same for each day of the week. The only issue with that is we get bored with ‘samey’ foods. Instead, it can be a great idea to make a list of your most-loved flavors and texture.
Peppers, chips, avocado, noodles, beef, spices, and more.
Use these things that you love eating to add something new to your salads.
If you are meal prepping, each of your containers should look different, but still, have plenty of the salad items and be packed with goodness.
One of the biggest bonuses about meal prepping is that you have sorted your eating for the week, and all you need to do is grab a container and enjoy.
Aside from all of the other tasty toppings that you are going to add to your salads, there are some staples that last really well for a few days in the refrigerator. These staples can form the basis of all of your salad combos.
- Green onion/spring onion add a nice crunch and a little tang to the salad
- Tomatoes are great for sweetness but can put a little too much liquid in the box
- Cucumbers are refreshing and crunchy – plus help with daily hydrations
- Butter lettuce, arugula, spinach, spring mixes, herb mixes, and romaine – your leaf of preference
For your protein, you likely want to add beef, tofu, or chicken. When meal prepping, you need to make sure that you cook and prep your protein correctly. Most people want to know how to cook tofu or how to cook chicken for chicken salad; find out here!
What are typical salad proteins?
There are plenty of things that you can add to your salad so that you can get that full feeling – protein is one of the best things to help you create a salad that feels more like a meal and less like a snack.
- Pulled or roast chicken
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Black beans or pinto beans
- Tuna fish
While it might be tempting to sling chicken on every salad, you are likely to get bored pretty quickly. And it is important that you mix up what you are eating so that you get a variety of tastes and nutrients.
You can also add protein mixes and sauces to your salad to give you some added protein.
Now you have the staples and the protein; it is time to find all of those lovely topping options that offer fat, flavor, texture – or all of them!
Cheese is one of the most popular topping options, and you can choose any shredded, crumbled, or diced cheese that you like. You can add even more flavor by choosing a cheese that is flavored with jalapenos, chili, or black pepper.
Fruit can make a great choice, and even more so in the summertime. Pear and walnut with goat cheese and honey is a top-tier combination. Strawberries work well with balsamic vinegar and in spicy salads like arugula. Apples and even oranges can make a big flavor explosion in your next salad.
Lemon, lime, and other citrus juices or vinegar can lift the salad with a big zing of flavor! Don’t be afraid to try out things like rice wine vinegar, blueberry, or orange balsamic, and work with different flavor combinations.
Avocado makes for a delicious and creamy topping, but if you don’t like avocado, then cottage cheese or hummus can make great alternatives.
And don’t forget the crunch! The crunch that you get from fresh salad is great, but you can add something extra. Don’t be shy to add in something like crunched-up tortilla chips, nuts, croutons, or other tasty crunch stuff you like.
Don’t forget the herbs. If you haven’t added herbs in the sauce, the drizzle, oils, or anything else, then you can chop up some fresh herbs and sprinkle them on the top. Salt and pepper are a must, but depending on what you have in your salad, you can make some great pairings.
Thyme, lemon, chicken, and arugula are a great combination with both citrusy lifts, plenty of protein, and a herby punch from the thyme.
If your chosen protein is beans and mincemeat with a tomato sauce, then tortillas and cheese are perfect. But you can improve the flavor profile even more by adding a handful of freshly chopped cilantro.
If you are determined to start adding a little more fruit and veg to your diet, don’t be tempted to only eat iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. It will become boring, and before you know it, you’ll be skipping the salad and heading for the food you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Try to create salads that are packed with flavor, and don’t be shy to add your favorite sauces, a crunch topping of your favorite potato chips too.
You can prepare everything in advance if you want to, but it is typically better to add anything liquidy or cream at the last minute – and add some extra seasoning at the same time. Start getting creative with your own oils, sauces, drizzles, and combinations.
Salads never need to be boring when you start adding a little bit of what you love to the fruits and veggies we know we need to eat daily.
And if you have that issue where after you have cooked some vegetables – they immediately lose their fresh and healthy look and start to look a little unappetizing, then here is the remedy: Cooking Vegetables That Look Appetizing.