Do you want to make friends with salad but just don’t know how? Well, let Your Local Greengrocer change that with this simple guide.

It’s time to take your salads from side dish to hearty main – without accidentally adding ingredients that turn them into junk food.

1. Use protein

If you want your salad to be filling, it’s got to contain a source of protein, which is also important for muscle growth and repair.

For vegetarians, this could be a variety home-cooked or canned legumes or pulses, and for non-vegetarians it could be tuna, salmon, cooked skinless chicken or grilled lamb, beef or pork fillet.

Quinoa is an excellent salad addition because it contains both carbohydrates and protein, and a sprinkling of nuts will up the protein count as well.

Add a mix of seeds and crushed nuts for fibre, iron, calcium, protein [in nuts], polyphenols and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Dairy lovers could add small quantities of a strong-flavoured cheese [such as] shaved parmesan or crumbed feta or for something a little more decadent, creamy blue cheese. Cheese adds valuable calcium and is also a protein source.

Remember: Your Local Greengrocer doesn’t just stock the freshest fruit and vegetables. You can also find a range of quality fresh meats, deli items and dairy products from premium suppliers which make the perfect addition to any salad.

2. Make it colourful

Salad’s claim to fame is a good mix of crunchy and juicy vegetables.

Variety in texture and colour is important to boost the fibre content, nutrient value and antioxidant power of the salad.

First cab off the rank are your leafy greens, to give you a good dose of vitamins A, C, K, calcium and folate, plus plenty of polyphenols.

Go for dark-coloured greens with spicy flavours, such as rocket, kale, dandelion greens and mustard greens.

Herbs are what really differentiates the flavour – use coriander for Asian-inspired salads, oregano and parsley in more Mediterranean style bowls or mint for a fresh, summery flavour.

Tomatoes are always a worthy addition, adding flavour, juice and the important antioxidant lycopene, and a generous dose of grated root vegetables add colour, flavour and nutrition.

Look at adding carrots, rainbow carrots, beetroot, parsnip and turnip. These add antioxidants called carotenoids and anthocyanins, and are high in fibre and therefore bulky and filling.

Fresh salads require fresh ingredients. Head into Your Local Greengrocer for the freshest produce as well as those less common speciality fruit and vegetable varieties you won’t find at a supermarket.

3. Create a delicious dressing

Forget the supermarkets and shelf-bought, pre-made salad dressings which are packed full of salt, sugar, preservatives and other artificial ingredients which are sure to comprimise how healthy your salad is. It’s just as easy to make them yourself!

Look at using a good quality extra virgin olive oil for its healthy monounsaturated fats and high levels of polyphenols and other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances.

Then, add an acid such as balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice, which can help your body convert the iron in the leafy greens into a more absorbable form.

Acetic acid in vinegar has the added benefit of supporting healthy gut bacteria, as well as adding depth of flavour.

At Your Local Greengrocer you can find an array of many gourmet grocery products sourced from from local producers, including premium extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar brands, as well as freshly-made salad dressings free of any nasties.

4. Toss it together

As you can see, a hearty homemade salad is a bit of a “choose your own adventure” with countless combinations at your fingertips.

Toss everything together to coat the ingredients in the dressing and enjoy!

Remember the synergies – adding an acid dressing helps the body absorb iron from leafy greens, adding olive oil to the dressing helps the body absorb carotenoids, and adding herbs doubles the antioxidant uptake from the herbs and salad vegetables.

Original article by 9 Honey

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