At first thought, salads are often considered bland and boring, but that is not entirely true. They can be a delicious and extremely healthy addition to your diet when made with the right ingredients. The secret is to make salads healthy and flavorful but not calorie-dense. Salads can be the key to maintaining a balanced diet, due to the combined nutritional value of all the ingredients put together.
Salads can be prepared in several ways, but the most common method involves beginning with a vegetable base, then adding seasonal ingredients, hearty protein, healthy fats, and a delightful dressing to complete it. The flavors can further be elevated by sprinkling in herbs, nuts, seeds, and any else that you love. Using ingredients such as vegetables, light dressings, seeds, and nuts not only packs the salad full of nutrition but also makes it easier on the digestive system. The world of salads is infinite, however as a starting point here are a few healthy salad recipes that are nutritious and healthy.
Beetroot Salad with Apple Cider Vinegar
This Beet Salad is not only extremely nutritious but also a crowd-pleaser at parties! The beets can be prepared ahead of time for easy weekday lunches. The sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette integrates seamlessly with the tenderly steamed beets. This Apple Cider Vinegar is also a digestive aid with anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a good ingredient for summer foods. Here is the recipe:
- 2 pieces of beetroot
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of mixed greens
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut (optional)
- Grated cottage cheese
- For quick cooking, peel the beets and chop them into 1-inch pieces. Fill a saucepan partly with water, then add the chopped beets and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water starts boiling, cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and steam the beets for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they can easily be mashed with a fork. Fun Hack: The smaller the beets are chopped, the faster they cook.
- Prepare the dressing while the beets are cooking. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, and a bit of salt and pepper in a mason jar with a lid. Secure the jar's lid, then vigorously shake until the dressing is smooth and well blended. Taste the dressing and season it to your liking.
- Set the beets aside to cool. Start with a layer of lush greens and top with beets, sliced red onion, cottage cheese, and walnuts. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately.
- Leftover dressing, beets, and greens can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. If you store the greens with the beets or dressing, they will become soggy, so keep them dry.
Colorful Quinoa Salad
This salad is gluten-free, vegan, and loaded with nutritious ingredients. Quinoa is a whole protein, which means it has all 9 amino acids and is, therefore, a great source of plant-based protein. Due to this, a quinoa salad is one of the best types of salads that can keep you full and provide you with many essential nutrients without being too heavy. This recipe makes for a fantastic lunch or dinner option:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- In a saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until quinoa is soft and water has been absorbed. Allow cooling before serving.
- Whisk coconut oil, lime juice, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and onions. Toss the quinoa mixture with the dressing to coat it. Season with salt, black pepper, and cilantro. Serve right away or chill in the fridge.
Salad with Lemon Chia Seed Dressing
This is one of the best vegetable salads since it incorporates the best flavors of both the vegetables and the dressing. It is simple to make, extremely refreshing and nutritious as well. Here is the recipe:
Ingredient for the Salad:
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 large peeled, diced, and roasted sweet potato
- 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
- 1 can chickpeas, washed and drained
- ½ cup of almonds
- 1 large diced apple
- 1 cup red cabbage, chopped
- 1 large sliced avocado
Ingredients for the Lemon Chia Seed Dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Toss the spinach, baked sweet potatoes, quinoa, chickpeas, almonds, apples, red cabbage, and avocado in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl or container, add olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and chia seeds for the dressing. Whisk everything together until it's smooth. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Toss the salad in the dressing to evenly coat it and enjoy!
Honey Fruit Salad
The ideal option for summer is a salad with fresh fruits complemented by a gentle honey and lime dressing. This recipe is refreshing and will brighten up any early morning meal. It can also be eaten as a snack given its low-calorie content and energizing ingredients. Here is the recipe:
- 1 orange peeled
- 1 cup of pineapple chunks
- 1 cup of black grapes
- 1 cup halved fresh strawberries
- 1 medium firm banana, sliced
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fresh mint
- Mix the fruit in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the honey, lime juice, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Stir it gently and get it well coated. Sprinkle some mint leaves and enjoy!
Salads are an extremely versatile food that can be had as a snack or a whole meal. Depending on how they are prepared, they can have a variety of different flavors and be extremely nutritious. These are just a few types of salad recipes that are refreshing and perfect for the summer. Consuming a substantial quantity of fresh veggies every day is a good way to get fiber and the herbs and dressing make the vegetable salads extremely refreshing. Apple cider vinegar is a popular salad dressing because of its light flavor, an abundance of nutrients such as magnesium and iron, and health benefits such as being great for digestion and a weight loss aid. These healthy salad recipes can be customized to one’s liking, so try them out!