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The One Formula You Need to Make a Killer Healthy Salad

By Carolyn Malcoun, April 21, 2017 - 9:00am

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I try to make a ginormous salad every day for lunch or dinner. Healthy salad recipes pack in a lot of nutrients for not a lot of calories—as long as you pay attention to the ingredients. It's easy to come up with healthy salad recipes in the summer when the market is overflowing with summer-ripe tomatoes, loads of veggies and a variety of salad greens. But dinner salads can be just as delicious and satisfying in the cooler months. I just adjust the mix for the season. This foolproof formula will have you tossing up healthy salad recipes whenever the mood strikes you!

Here are 5 tips for making a killer salad, plus a super-simple homemade vinaigrette recipe that will make you fall in love with salad again.

Don't Miss: 29 Addicting Recipes to Feed Your Salad Habit

1. Lay Down the Leafy Greens: For a single dinner-size salad, start with 3 cups of leafy greens. The sturdy bitter stuff (endive, arugula, escarole) is at its best in the cooler months.

2. Add a Rainbow of Veggies: Start with 1 to 2 cups of raw or roasted vegetables, such as beets, squash, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots and/or fennel.

3. Go for Whole Grains: Bulk up your plate with up to 1/2 cup of cooked grains, such as barley, farro, brown rice or quinoa.

4. Add Protein for Staying Power: Add 3 to 4 ounces of cooked chicken, shrimp or steak, a hard-boiled egg or 1/2 cup beans. Leftovers are your friends here.

5. Dress It Up: Now that your bowl o' salad is ready, you need to toss it with a dressing. Don't be a fat phobe! Dressing improves your salad's flavor—and its fat helps you absorb certain nutrients, such as beta carotene. This basic vinaigrette goes with just about any healthy salad recipe: Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red-wine or white-wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Makes about 3 1/2 Tbsp., enough for 1 large salad. Short on time? Use 2 tablespoons of a store-bought dressing with a simple ingredient list, like Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Salad Dressing.

How to Make a Killer Healthy Salad Every Time

Related: 46 Homemade Vinaigrettes That Will Make You Love Salad Again

Want more ideas? Try one of these healthy salad recipes.

 

TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Healthy Cooking Blog

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, young daughter and dog.

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