Salad is one of the most popular lunches throughout spring and summer. It’s also one of the lunches which is most commonly cast aside in favour of the cheeky nandos on a Friday afternoon. If like me you’re trying really hard to eat well, then taking a few steps to make your salads a little bit more glamorous can make all the difference between behaving or feeling guilty.
Here are a few ingredients I include in my salads to give them extra plate appeal come lunchtime – they might be unusual but they go with every protein I’ve tried them with. They’re all healthy, readily available and vegan (just in case).
We’ll work from midnight.
These are a wonderful source of fiber, and a sprinkle of them alongside kale and light meat like chicken is particularly delicious. They work really well with zesty dressings like mustard but equally compliment creamy dressings like blue cheese or mayo. A small handful scattered onto an otherwise green and nutty salad can really give it a pop!
These big bumbling babies are beautiful alongside beef and duck in particular, but also set off creamy cheeses like mozarella perfectly. They are very low in sodium but high in vitamin C so they’re a great lunchtime companion and give loads of salads a tangy little kick. They’re equally nice blitzed up with some pepper and olive oil, used as a dressing.
I have only recently come to appreciate the humble chickpea in its own right. Previously preferring to enjoy it in curries, I’d totally overlooked its buttery taste, but as soon as I tried them scattered onto salad my lunchtimes were changed. They instantly add bulk to any weak salad, but provide big levels of Iron and vitamin B-6.
Oh how I love watermelon. I’d never thought of including it in salads until recently when I saw it on pinterest. Thrown in with dark greens, mozarella and parma ham it’s utterly delightful. Containing bags of water, it’s great for staying hydrated and also a good source of vitamins A, B-6 and C. It obviously helps that’s it’s delicious.
Dates, I always assumed, were less glamorous than prunes, which are not at all glamorous. I was wrong, of course. Dates are fabulous, their shiny exterior like a glimmering ballgown. Their gooey interior like the good bit of a sticky toffee pudding. Chopped dates make literally everything better, and it’s a sin that this knowledge isn’t on the curriculum. Throw in a handful of chopped dates when you want a colon, heart and brain friendly salad. Magnesium, fiber and potassium make them a great anti-inflammatory too.
So there you have 5 more things to try in your salad to boost the taste and nutrient level. Despite being mostly sweet, they all go well with savoury, spicy and even oriental style salads. None require cooking or special attention beyond the opening of a can or packet.
Do you have any go-to foods for pimping your salads? Share them below – I’m all about a tastier lunch!