Salads are an easy and delicious way to eat and enjoy veggies. You can create a tasty salad using whatever is in your fridge or pantry - the possibilities are endless.
When people think of adding more greens and veggies to their meals, the first thing that comes to mind is salad. It’s easy to throw together, you can use whatever is in your fridge or pantry, and it requires no cooking.
But after many side salads and bottled dressings, you either run out of ideas or get bored with eating a bunch of raw veggies.
Luckily, we have 3 great tips to make salads even tastier, healthier, and overall, more enjoyable, so that you can make them an essential part of your meals and never get tired of the salad course again.
1. Make Your Own Vinaigrette
First, ditch the bottled dressings! Not only are bottled dressings filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce and are generally not very healthy, they also take up fridge space, and you have to worry about using them before they expire, which makes eating salads not so fun and tasty.
However, making your own salad dressings is very easy, you can adjust the taste according to your personal preferences, and you can make the amount that you need.
There are many different types of salad dressings out there, such as ranch, Italian, French, honey-mustard, Thousand Island. . .but we’re going to keep it simple and break it down into two basic categories:
- Vinaigrette – Made with a vinegar or something acidic, a sweetener, Dijon mustard (as a binder), oil, and salt and pepper. By adding different types of these ingredients, you can make a ton of different vinaigrettes.
- Creamy – Usually made with mayo, sour cream, or buttermilk, but a healthier route is to use yogurt instead. Our favorite combination is yogurt, something acidic, a bit of oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and for a little punch, minced garlic.
Learn how to make a quick vinaigrette with the video and infographic below so that you can make a variety of dressings to go with different salads any time you want.
How to Make a Vinaigrette
Vinaigrettes are a wonderful way to dress up not just salads, but proteins and vegetables too, and they're very easy to make.
Cooking Formula for a Simple Vinaigrette
Learn this simple cooking formula to make homemade vinaigrette, and you'll never resort to that bottled stuff again.
2. Get Creative
There are different types of veggie salads, and for the record, they don’t always have to be raw! They also don’t have to be a boring pile of greens topped with only tomatoes and cucumbers. You can get creative and use whatever you find in your fridge or pantry or use up any odds and ends, making salads a great way to reduce food waste.
There are 3 main types of salads and each one can be made a bunch of different ways:
- Garden salads – Made with leafy greens and topped with veggies, herbs, beans, seeds, or nuts
- Vegetable salads – Composed of raw or cooked veggies other than leafy greens
- Bound salads – Like potato or tuna salad, where the ingredients are held together with a thick sauce that makes it scoopable
The basic formula for salads is Base Veggie + Veggie Toppings + Dressing. We already showed you how to make your own dressing, so all you have to do is think outside the box for the base veggies and veggie toppings.
Base veggies are the foundation of the salad. They’re the main part and there’s a larger amount of these ingredients than the other parts of the salad. Popular base veggies include – but are not limited to – lettuces, baby spinach, kale, arugula, mixed greens, cabbage, endive, and chunky veggies, like cauliflower and broccoli. You can mix and match these base veggies for a bunch of different tastes and textures.
For the veggie toppings, add whatever kind of veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, cheese, and herbs that you like to your salad. You can even add leftover roasted vegetables or cooked grains and pastas, a great way to repurpose leftovers.
Remember, the possibilities are endless . . . Anything goes!
If you need some inspiration to get you started, print out the infographic below. It offers 50 different salad ideas for every season, so that you’ll never get bored of eating the same salads over and over again.
50 Simple Salads for Every Season
Create homemade dressings and experience a variety of salads all year long.
3. Put It in a Mason Jar
Anything is more fun when eating from a mason jar, right? But what’s great about mason jar salads is that you can take it anywhere you go! You can now put together a quick salad the night before, and then pack it and take to work, school, or the park for lunch the next day.
Mason jar salads are such a fun, easy, and practical way for assembling and transporting salads.
All you need are mason jars (aka canning jars), which are way better than standard Tupperware for transporting salads. Because a mason jar is taller than it is wide, ingredients can be layered vertically, with the dressing sitting perfectly at the bottom of the jar.
In other words, you don’t have to worry about a) soggy salad by lunchtime or b) having to pack two containers – one for the ingredients and one for the dressing.
When assembling salads, start with dressing at the bottom, so most ingredients remain fresh and untouched by the dressing. After the dressing base, simply layer ingredients by order of sog-resistance, meaning heartier ingredients that can withstand dressing go in first. Watch how we do it with this video:
Springtime Mason Jar Salad
Discover how fun and easy it is to assemble a mason jar salad with the best of spring's ingredients!
Multiple salads can be assembled at the same time, meaning a healthy meal is just a few shakes away.
When transporting, just try to keep the mason jar upright so the dressing stays put. When you’re ready to eat, give it a shake to distribute the dressing. If you packed the salad real tightly, transfer everything into a bowl with a fork. It’s really that easy!
Use our graphical guide below for the best way to understand how to order your ingredients for ultimate freshness:
How to Make a Mason Jar Salad
Take a simple, healthy meal anywhere you go with our how-to on mason jar salads.