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Your Salad Toppings Cheat Sheet

By August 16, 2016July 3rd, 2020Nutrition

Use these easy tips to build a better bowl

If your salad days sound more like ranch-on-romaine days, you’re in for a delicious update. Make salad special with these fast, easy, healthy toss-ins.

The Base

No need to stick to iceberg. Experiment with other greens and grains. Replace lettuce with brown rice, couscous, lentils, or quinoa for something hearty. Or, try grilled greens such as romaine hearts.

The Dressing

Many bottled dressings contain bad-for-you fats, like hydrogenated oils, as well as sneaky refined sugars. Homemade dressing is fast and healthier. To make your own, use a 3:1 ratio of oil to acid, like olive oil and vinegar or sesame oil and lime juice, and add flavorings. Dijon mustard, herbs, and minced onions make tasty additions. To sweeten, blend in honey, pureed dates, or low-sugar fruit jam.

The Toppings

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Add as many as you’d like and aim for a variety of colors. Try caramelized onions, pear slices, roasted sweet potatoes, or sundried tomatoes.
  • Protein: Go for lean protein. Add 3 ounces of canned salmon, grilled tofu, low-salt turkey, shredded chicken, ½ cup of legumes, or a hard-boiled egg. Be sparing with cheese. To help with portion control, use one serving of mini cheese such as Babybel or Laughing Cow brands.
  • Crunch: Choose unsalted or “raw” nuts and seeds to reduce sodium intake. Air-popped popcorn, roasted chickpeas, toasted whole wheat bread cubes, and snap pea chips make for better-for-you croutons.

Recipe Ideas

  • The Antipasto: Arugula + Artichoke hearts, canned or fresh fish such as tuna or trout, white beans + Olive oil and lemon juice
  • The Slaw: Shredded cabbage + Roasted broccoli, carrots, cubed tofu, snap peas + Sesame oil and orange zest
  • The Detoxifier: Shredded kale + Avocado, black beans, cucumber, pumpkin seeds + Tahini
  • The Wedge: Iceberg cut into wedges + Apples, chives, low-salt sliced turkey + Blue cheese dressing
Kim-Thao Nguyen