Sometimes salads just really suck.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought a salad to work, and when the lunch hour rolls around, pretty much anything sounds better. Why? Because salads are extremely boring sometimes. I don’t know about you, but my main problem is that I make the same type of salads all the time. I run out of ideas to make them exciting, causing me to hate salads. As a result, I rarely eat them, even though they can make for such a healthy lunch.
Then I had an epiphany: Why not make salads based on themes?
This is pretty much how I got over my super boring workout playlist problem. Instead of coming up with new songs all the time to add to a huge playlist, I made themed playlists out of music I already had, starting with a 90’s workout playlist. I figured, maybe this could apply to food too! No, I’m not talking about a 90’s-themed salad. I don’t even know how that would work. Basically, I think of a popular meal, like pizza, and deconstruct it with fresh ingredients and throw it on lettuce of some sort. The possibilities are endless.
Whether you eat these as a side to a meal or as the actual meal, see below for a bunch of ingredients to add to your lettuce to spruce up an otherwise boring salad.
- PB & J – Dried fruit and nuts on top with a raspberry vinaigrette
- Pizza – Tomato, cheese, mushroom, and spinach (or a variation of what you like as toppings)
- Southwestern – Corn, beans, avocado, tomato, cheese, and chicken
- Garden – Tomato, cucumbers, green pepper, onion, broccoli, celery, etc.
- Chef – Lunchmeat, egg, tomato, cucumbers, and cheese
- Thai – Edamame, carrots, red pepper, cilantro, and chicken with peanut dressing (Ex: Thai Peanut Salad with Salmon)
- Greek – Feta cheese, onion, chickpeas, tomato, and cucumber
- Caprese – Tomato, mozzarella, and basil mixed in
- Buffalo wings – Chicken seasoned with buffalo sauce, carrots, tomato, blue cheese, and ranch (Ex: Buffalo Chicken Salad)
- Omelet – Eggs, ham, mushrooms, and cheddar
- Fruit and nut – Strawberries, blueberries, apple, feta cheese, almonds, and walnuts (Ex: Nut and Berry Salad)
- Tuna salad – Tuna, cucumber or apple, sunflower seeds, or whatever you put in a tuna salad
- Chicken salad – Chicken, dried cranberries, apple, grapes, onions, and almonds
- Pad Thai – Shrimp, cilantro, peanuts, scallions, egg, and bean sprouts
- Little bit of everything – This is usually how I roll. Lots of veggies, nuts, seeds, maybe some chicken, etc. (Ex: Sunshine Super Salad)
- Colors of the rainbow – Make it colorful and at the way least, it’ll be pretty when you eat it (Ex: Ultimate Detox Salad, Veggie Salad with Broccoli Salad Dressing)
- Forget the lettuce – Quinoa, veggies, starch of some sort, other randomness (Ex: Edamame and Jicama Salad, Asparagus, Avocado, and Quinoa Salad with Mango Lime Vinaigrette, Green Power Raisin Salad)
- Hummus – Chickpeas, red pepper, sesame seeds, and ripped up pita on top
- Guacamole – Avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, and tortilla strips on top
- Fajitas – Chicken, green/red pepper, onion
- Bloody Mary – Tomato, celery, bacon, shrimp
Okay, so they might not all be winners, but it’s what I could come up with so far.
Besides working on sprucing up my salads, I want to try my hand at making dressings from scratch. I’ve mastered the homemade ranch with Greek yogurt thing, but now I’m getting sick of that and need to think of more ideas.
What are a few themes you think would work well as a salad?
What are your favorite salad toppings?