When you think “salad,” do you visualize a boring pile of vegetables? Or do you imagine your favorite salad that you eat day after day, because you don’t really know how to create anything new? I love “main meal” kind of salads: the ones that include some real food, not just lettuce. There some basic rules to creating a good, healthy salad. Once you are familiar with these, you can let your creativity flow and let me know what kind of super-salads you have created.

The Salad Rules:

1. Pick your greens. 

2. Pick your veggies. Cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, beets, carrots, radishes, even jicama, broccoli florets or zucchini. Experiment with finely diced or coarsely chopped and see what works better for you. Make sure to cover the rainbow of colors – the more colors you have in your salad, the more nutritionally dense it is.

3. Pick your main protein: chicken, tuna, tofu (baked or natural,) hard-boiled egg or beans, chick peas or even a scoop of cooked quinoa.

4. Pick something crunchy: croutons ( I prefer homemade,) almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower or pumpkin or sesame seeds, cracker pieces, etc… You can use natural or roasted nuts and seeds. I like to roast them on a dry frying pan for a few minutes.

5. Pick something oily, to balance the crunch. I love avocado, but you can also choose cheese. Goat cheese and feta cheeses work well.

6. Pick the little details. Like accessories to a ball gown, little details  matter a lot in a good salad. Try herbs, such as parsley or basil. Or, try something sweet, such as cranberries (dried) or raisins or apple or strawberry slices. Blueberries work, too and so do raspberries. Maybe, some onions or garlic? Seaweed flakes? Chia seeds? Flaxseed?

7. Dressing. Commercially sold dressings tend to be rich in preservatives and artificial ingredients. I think the best salad dressing is a mixture of cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil with some cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil and possibly a bit of lemon or orange juice. Maybe, a bit of Braggs or some sea salt. Sometimes, apple juice works well with the oil. You can also try one of the dressings I featured in this blog: tahini or carrot/ginger: they are fresh and full of nutrients.

image: Master isolated images