How to Make a Satisfying Salad

When’s the last time you had a truly satisfying salad?

A satisfying salad is a hard thing to find, especially if you’re not (or don’t know how) to make one yourself.

Salads have a branding problem…

When you hear the word salad, what do you see?


Images of rabbits and skinny, unhappy people?

Here’s the thing, tho…

No one wants to eat lettuce (even those skinny, unhappy looking people).

And no one can possibly be happy just eating lettuce.

So, for now let’s forget the word “salad.”

“Bowl of stuff” is a more accurate description here.

BTW, It’s impossible for me to come in under double digits at a salad bar. It’s the heavy stuff that gets me every time. Geez it adds up.

But the heavy stuff is where it’s at when it comes to building a satisfying salad.

Here’s a good example — this was my lunch on Friday…

It’s got butternut squash, raisins, garbanzo beans, carrots, radishes, avocado and sliced almonds.

This was such a delicious and satisfying salad because it had a lot of heavy stuff and covered the taste spectrum: sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy.

That’s the trick. And then change it up from day to day.

Here’s a DIY checklist you can follow to make your own…

*Change it up. Play. Be creative. Don’t be scared. It’s just a bowl of stuff.

  1. lettuce: spinach, romaine, mixed greens, etc. (the greener the better!)
  2. veggie/fruit: carrots, bell pepper, radish, broccoli, onion, snap peas, cauliflower, pear, strawberries, oranges, blueberries…. (you get the idea.)
  3. protein: chicken, shrimp, beef, salmon, garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, edamame, tofu
  4. dry ingredients: walnuts, sliced almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried cranberries
  5. leftovers: quinoa, brown rice, pasta, roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, vegetables, avocado
  6. dressing: use your favorite dressing or make your own by just combining olive oil and balsamic vinegar (1:1)
  7. crackers (optional)

More tips:

  • Keep your pantry stocked with dry ingredients. Things like nuts, raisins and seeds add a lot of flavor. They’re also easy to keep in stock because they stay fresh.
  • Chop your veggies in advance. Every week I say I’m going to do this, but never do. I should. Chop them up and keep them in containers in the fridge so they’re ready to go.
  • Use leftovers. Whatever you had for dinner the night before could go in your bowl of stuff. Chicken. Rice. Broccoli. Roasted potatoes.
  • Vary the tastes and textures. Cover the spectrum: crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet.
  • Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try something that may seem a little out of the ordinary. If you like it by itself, there’s a good chance it will taste even better combined with something else.

Example 1: Butternut squash & raisin (pictured)
– spinach
– carrot
– radish
– garbanzo beans
– roasted butternut squash (leftover)
– raisins
– avocado (I used it just because I had some, take it or leave it.)
– sliced almonds
– balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Example 2: Black bean and corn
– mixed greens
– bell peppers
– black beans
– corn
– tomato
– red onion
– avocado
– chicken (optional)
– dressing of choice

Example 3: Asian spring
– spinach and mixed greens
– carrot
– radish
– snap peas
– edamame
– chicken (optional)
– mandarin orange slices
– dressing of choice

Try out one of the example recipes or get creative and try your own creation. You really can’t mess it up.

What’s your favorite salad? Tell us in the comments.

  • not kidding – since reading this post i’ve made the most PHENOMENAL salads! some dried bananas, mushrooms, parmesan cheese… the works!

    thanks for the inspiration lady 🙂

  • […] When I make salads with dinner they usually get thrown together in the three minutes before we sit down to eat.  Sometimes there’s rhyme or reason to the combo, other times not so much. My approach to salads is anything goes! And the more the merrier. Lettuce is just one ingredient mixed in with all sorts of stuff. […]

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