My Magic Formula for Not-Sad-Salad Lunches

Check out my tips on how to spruce up your next salad lunch so it’s filling, colorful and flavourful!

Dark Leafy Greens

Instead of the spring greens that get wilted in like 3 days or the romaine that turns brown always go for Baby Spinach, Baby Kale, or Arugula.  Bonus! If you don’t use them up in your salads you can add them to stirfries, sautes, soups, eggs, or even just shove in the freezer in a baggie to use later.

This One Might Surprise You!

A must-have for me at all times for lunch salads is a few types of fresh soft/leafy herbs – think parsley, cilantro, chives, mint, dill, tarragon (must try if you haven’t before!) and also scallions or green onions.  Why? Just a quick rinse and then tear or chop a good handful of any of these right into your salad greens.  You’ll be amazed at the major flavor difference it makes for NO extra calories/SP/etc.  Add more than you think and I promise you won’t even need as much dressing anymore!

Ready to Eat Lean Protein

 I’m talking pre-grilled chicken strips (or chicken you prep at the beginning of the week), hard-boiled eggs, low-sodium/no nitrate deli turkey, canned chickpeas, or black beans, canned tuna.  Protein helps keep you satisfied longer and having it prepped and ready to add to a salad for lunch will make all the difference.

Colorful Cut-Up Things – the sky’s the limit here!   

You know those gourmet salads you spend $20 on when you go out for lunch? Yes, you can totally make them for yourself for a weekday lunch in no time.  I love the pre-cooked beets Trader Joe’s and other supermarkets have, shredded cabbage and shredded carrot, and grape tomatoes.  I’ll also prep things in batches while I’m cooking like a container of sliced bell peppers (I stick with the red-orange-yellow), or sliced cucumber (also great to snack on). Lately, I’ve also kept a container of strawberries cut up and ready to add to salads too. We eat with our eyes and the more color and variety of flavors/textures you add to your salad the more satisfied you’ll be.

TIP:  line your storage container of cut-up produce with a paper towel to absorb moisture and help it last longer.

Those Little Garnishes that Make it Special

Whenever I’m ordering a salad it’s the toppings that hook me.  And the great thing is a little goes a long way!  I always keep crumbled feta, goat cheese, or shaved parmesan in the fridge (they keep the longest too) and a mix of salted nuts in the pantry (pistachios are my current fave but almonds, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds would be great too).  A sprinkle on top is all you need to make it taste, look, and feel special (which will keep you satisfied!).

Just a Drizzle to Dress It

Once you’ve added a few things from the list above you should have yourself a big, colorful, super-gourmet-looking bowl ready to go!  I top mine with some coarse salt and pepper (salads need seasoning too!) and just a drizzle of really good quality extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.  Definitely play around with different kinds of vinegar too – Cider Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, and White Balsamic are mild and lightly sweet.  An Aged Balsamic is super thick and lightly sweet too so you won’t need to use heaps of dressing.  Vinegars keep indefinitely in your pantry and I HIGHLY recommend keeping a little collection for yourself!