The holidays are filled with cheer—good friends, rounds of parties, and lots and lots of rich food. We’re not normally about recipes here, but we are about living a smart, green life that’s good for the planet, and good for you. We’re also about having fun, and living well. So, why are we talking about salads? In December? Because a meal-sized salad can be the perfect antidote to all those holiday indulgences. Filled with seasonal veggies, they’re quick to prepare, satisfying and refreshing. Plus, they’re a great excuse to try out all those winter veggies you’re usually baffled by and trot out that amazing salad bowl you have. Here are a few tips to build a meal-sized salad that works.
Start with a great looking bowl. No, we’re not kidding. Go for a natural wood salad bowl like this one made from mango wood, or add a shot of bright color like this tangerine-toned wood salad bowl. Don’t forget some salad servers. Now it’s time time to build your salad.
The first thing to do is rethink your salad. If your vision of a salad is some leafy greens, cucumber, carrots and tomato, it’s time to get a fresh vision. Sure, a winter meal-sized salad can include leafy greens, but it can just as easily be quinoa and beans, or bulgar wheat and kale. Speaking of kale, embrace the dark green stuff as a salad filler all winter long—massage the leaves with organic olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and you’ve got the base of many varieties of delicious, nutritious salads.
Winter veggies include kale and chard, as well as leeks, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, celery root, chicory, fennel, winter squash, and so much more! Don’t overlook all the delicious citrus fruit, pears, pomegranates and dried fruits you can find at this time of year.
- For a traditional veggie-based salad, start with your greenery. Reach for that kale, or even shredded broccoli and cabbage. Mix in a wide variety of different veggies to keep the flavor and texture interesting.
- Add in some healthy starches to add satisfying bulk. This is where things like winter squash, sweet potatoes, and other “heavier” veggies come into the mix. Try roasting the veggies for added flavor.
- Since this is a meal, amp the nutritional value with a few high-density foods to fill you up. Grab that quinoa, or bulgar wheat, or try some nuts, seeds or legumes, or a sprinkle of dried fruit.
- Add some protein and some interesting topping. Go ahead and use up the leftover meats, or chop up some falafel or tofu. Roasted chickpeas are a great protein source and a crunchy topping as well.
- Finally, dress your salad right. Oil and vinegar are easy, but hummus, salsa, guacamole, and bean dips all make great salad toppers.
- Dig in and enjoy!
That’s it. You’ve just built a salad that will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites, and you’ve been kind to yourself and your planet. Not to mention, maybe staved off some of the guilt for all that rich holiday food!