No longer just a starter course, salads are stepping up to become a real meal. I often eat a salad for lunch and dinner, and here’s how you can build an ultra-nutritious, delicious, filling veggie-based main course. Eat a salad on Earth Day (tomorrow!), but don’t stop there: “green up” your regimen with this earth-friendly meal every single day.
Salad As a Meal:
1. Base. Start with deep greens. Baby spring greens are a good foundation, but you might also add fibrous spinach, kale, chard, basil, mint, tarragon and anything else with substance.
2. Texture. Add grated root vegetables. Try carrots, beets, jicama, turmeric, and ginger. Many of these rooty treats exert anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
3. Nutrition. Sprouts are essential. They provide vitamins, protein, and living enzymes. I like fenugreek, mung, alfalfa and lentil sprouts. Try using two or three kinds at a time.
4. Energy. Now that your salad is growing in size, add the nuts for protein and heart-healthy fats. My favorites are high-protein pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds. Walnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts make great additions, too.
5. Flavor. Sprinkle with organic goat cheese or feta, or nutritional yeast if you’re vegan.
6. Dressing. Top with fresh, healthy, flavorful dressing. My favorite is my homemade creamy tahini-balsamic-shoyu concoction, but if you’re into ready-made vinaigrettes, use balsamic for the richest flavor and great nutrition.
7. Bulk. Look to sliced mushrooms, olives, scored avocado, canned organic large beans (like lima, garbanzo and kidney), and chunks of mango to add creaminess and density to salads. In fact, you can leave the greens out and create your own Touski hit with all kinds of interesting vegetable and fruit combinations. Beans, seeds, flowers, seaweed, tomatoes, tofu – there’s no limit to your creativity.
Once you step back and look at your salad, you’ll realize you’re about to enjoy an abundance of earth-friendly, belly-filling food. Thank yourself for your healthful ingenuity and enjoy!
Try Vanessa’s 5 Day Eat-Low-on-the-Food-Chain-Challenge
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Image: Amy March