Simple Salads

Salads are my favorite weekday lunch. They’re an easy way to eat more fiber and color, and you get to take advantage of leftovers! But chopping a bunch of raw vegetables sounds daunting and doesn’t scream “delicious.”

Follow this strategy to prepare a satisfying salad (that you actually want to eat) in under 10 minutes flat.

  1. pre-washed greens. Buying your greens pre-washed is key. I like the clamshell containers of baby red butter lettuce. It has a perfect tender crunch, and it’s rich in Vitamins A, C and iron. Arugula, baby kale, romaine or spinach are great nutrient-dense options as well.
  2. quick grab protein. Precooked rotisserie chicken, canned chunk light tuna, sardines or wild salmon, black beans, tofu, or last night’s shrimp fajitas leftovers are all fantastic quick options. The trick is cooking enough dinner the night before to stash some for lunch.
  3. multicolored vegetables. The more color, the more phytonutrients, which help to lower inflammation by washing your body with antioxidants. Keep your fridge stocked with quick-grab options. Think bell pepper sticks, heirloom tomatoes, watermelon radishes, leftover steamed broccoli and asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, beets or store-bought kimchi.
  4. healthy fats. Fat offers flavor, mouth feel, and satiety. And choosing the right fats supports your health. Go for avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
  5. satisfying starch. A little starch goes a long way in keeping you satisfied. Try last night’s brown rice, cooked quinoa, leftover potatoes, a whole grain corn tortilla, a slice of whole kernel rye or sourdough bread, or even leftover plain oatmeal.
  6. something sweet (optional). Tossing in a little sweetness can help curb a craving later in the day, and the variety in flavor keeps it interesting. Some sliced peaches, strawberries, carrots or leftover roasted sweet potatoes are excellent add-ins.
  7. tasty dressing. A good dressing transforms ordinary greens, so aim to keep several options on hand. I love to make a big mason jar of my own using 1 part vinegar, 2 parts oil, a little dijon mustard, sea salt and whatever bonus ingredients I’m feeling (shallots, lemon, garlic, herbs). Primal Kitchen is one of the very few store-bought brands that doesn’t use soybean or canola oil as the base – they use avocado oil and they have some really amazing flavors like Lemon Turmeric and Green Goddess.

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