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Build A Better Salad

I could eat salad every single day. Especially around this time of year when Spring hits and you are just craving lighter and brighter food. Well, salads can definitely be lighter and brighter if you are making them right. I tend to burn out from making too many salads so I try to keep things fresh by following a basic “salad-making formula” and swapping out ingredients each time.

Grab your salad spinner and dressing and read on to find out what it takes to build a better salad.

First things first – every salad needs a really good base of leafy greens. Fresh leafy greens. I in no way want to discourage you from buying pre-made bagged lettuces, but if you want a good salad then taking the time to chop up a head or two of lettuce really makes all the difference. I use my salad spinner often and once all my lettuce is washed and dried well, I store it in a large ziploc bag to keep it fresh. I like to put a dry paper towel in there as well to capture any moisture that still may be on the leaves. My favorite lettuce greens are green leaf, red leaf, iceberg, romaine, red Russian or dinosaur kale, arugula – get creative and switch your greens often.

Next, we need “fixins”. What I consider fixins are the additional veggies that dresses up a salad. For example, grape tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped bell pepper, sprouts, grated carrot, sliced celery, sliced radishes – you get the picture. Stock up your fridge with lots of fixins’ and throw them into your salad bowl.

Of course, we need protein. Protein comes in so many different ways. Use up your leftover grilled meats and seafood by adding them chopped or sliced onto your salad. Don’t forget about beans and nuts, they are also great sources of protein for a veggie-packed salad.

And to finish off a good salad in my opinion,  you need a little cheese and a good salad dressing. For the cheese, use whatever you have in your deli drawer or pick up some crumbled soft cheeses like gorgonzola, goat or feta. Don’t go overboard on the cheese if you are watching your waist-line though, cheese can be a salad buster as far as calories go. Stock up your fridge with a few of your favorite dressings (I adore the yogurt-based ones from Bolthouse Farms) or make your own from this collection of 7 homemade salad dressings featured recently here on Family Kitchen.

There you have it, my formula for building a better salad. It takes some discipline and a little inspiration to stay creative on the salad-making front and I hope this post moves you in the right direction.

Are you on Pinterest? Check out my Salad board for even more delicious salad recipes and ideas!

More yummy salads on Family Kitchen:

Ceasar Salad with Blackened Mahi Mahi
Chickpea and Broccoli Slaw Salad
Spinach, Almond and Orzo Salad

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