Keep me healthy and happy
August 16, 2012 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Bored with lunch. Healthiest salad combos?

Everyday, I have a spinach salad, tomato, grilled chicken, jalapenos, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and vinagrette. I'm absolutely burnt out.

Can you give me better salad ideas, but not just any salad ideas, I want the healthiest, best of the best salad ideas EVER!
posted by xicana63 to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 150 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I bookmarked Mark Bittman's 101 Simple Salads column in the NY Times a few years ago and refer to it all the time. You could practically point to any of them at random and get some great ideas.
posted by bcwinters at 10:20 AM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: It's hard to go wrong with quinoa and pomegranate salad, although it can be a faff to make if you don't buy pre-cooked quinoa. Add feta cheese for added interest/unhealthiness.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:23 AM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: My girlfriend's recipe for watermelon arugula salad:

Watermelon arugula salad:
chop watermelon to cubes (about 3/4" or less- any bigger and it's hard to eat)
mix in with arugula ( torn or chopped to manageable size)
toss with grated feta and red wine vinaigrette.
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Again with the Bittman, this salad matrix can help. I've seen another salad matrix that had a long list of:
- greens (unlimited, I like things like arugula to spice up the spinach sometimes),
- protein (4-6oz) I like frozen cooked shrimp, because I can throw a few on top the salad in the morning and they've melted by lunchtime. Also chickpeas and white beans
- veggies and fruits (mostly unlimited, as long as it isn't an all-grape salad)
- fats - (limited to a serving) nuts, dressing, croutons. Hard-boiled eggs can be a second serving if you're looking for more protein

If you like grains, quinoa is great either in a green salad or on it's own, as it has lots of protein, too. And if you follow this general pattern but go wild and try new things (apples! walnuts! pomegranate! sprouted lentils!) you'll have Delicious and interesting salads again.
posted by ldthomps at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There are some great ideas here at Tea & Cookies Ten Summer Salads: I really like the farro, corn and tomato salad as we're just starting to get summer produce here. She also wrote a lovely "Pep Talk for Wilted Salad Makers" that features some good and healthy salad recipes you might want to try.
posted by stellaluna at 10:47 AM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: I'm eating this quinoa and smoked tofu salad as we speak. I modified it a bit since I didn't have some of the ingredients on hand (red pepper instead of yellow, dried parsley instead of fresh, no mint). The flavour is somewhere between a Greek salad and tabouli, with some nice heft and smokiness coming from the tofu.

My wife has been known to take a standard Greek salad and toss some quinoa in with it. This is also pretty delicious and the quinoa adds some extra protein and fibre to help fill you up.
posted by asnider at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: I do a similar watermelon salad but with lime juice and olive oil as a dressing and red onions/scallions chopped and mixed in. Feta served to taste (it does not do well sitting in with the lime juice.) It is so good, and every time I bring it for a work thing people are surprised (and seemingly delighted) with the taste combination.

Avocado with walnuts and cheese. Avocado and mango salsa on greens with fresh or grilled corn kernels. Heart of Palm with cranberries and a creamy cheese or dressing. Pomegranate salad dressing, made with pomegranate molasses, is great with finely chopped scallions on wilted kale/chard or arugula. Candied pecans on virtually any salad.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: I love quinoa salads. I also love this barley salad from smittenkitchen, which is pretty flexible on ingredient substitutions in the mucking about with it i've done (dialling the onions way back for lunchtime helps too!). I've made a big lot of the barley 'base' up in advance and frozen it for future lunches, which has been handy on the time-saving front. It's a matter, then, of chucking some other vegetables in with it and some fetta or something and away we go. Adding chickpeas to the barley is also great for additional protein and fibre goodness.
posted by pymsical at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: The key is variety. Even presenting the veg a little diferently can make a huge difference: like chopping colored peppers, avacado, cuccumber, with some protien and lining them up like a tasting plate makes it feel like Not A Salad.

Different kinds of greens like swiss chard or spicey mustard greens added to your spinach can change the feel.

Adding roasted parsnips or beats can add color and sweetness.

I love salads that are greens-free for a change of pace. We have mediterainian salad ( cuccumbers, tomatos, onion and parsley tossed with apple cider vinager and olive oil) every few weeks.

Cobb salads are awesome too- add some chopped slices of turkey or roast beef and a boiled egg to standard green salad and it's very satisfying.

Steamed asparagus, carrots, and roast brussel sprouts can
make your salad more savory.
Good luck!
posted by Blisterlips at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: We go through a batch of this or more every week. I eat it with liberal amounts of Feta and have just discovered that adding toasted walnuts is the way to go. It fills to the top one of these and stays fresh for several days.

Make a 1 cup batch of cous cous in a storage bowl. While that is "cooking", rinse and drain a can of chick peas and a can of kidney beans. Chop and dice about 3 ribs of celery, half an English cucumber, one red bell pepper (or several of those little cute small peppers that seem to be everywhere now) and halve a dozen or so grape or cherry tomatos. Dump all of this into the cous cous and splash liberally with lemon juice, like a whole lemon or 4 big glugs from the Costco sized bottle. Mix it well as the cous cous will sort of stick to the bottom if you don't give it a good stir. Good at room temperature or cold.

You could also sub quinoa for the cous cous.
posted by jvilter at 3:03 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I bought a salad for lunch that was so lovely and delicious it made me want to go home and build more beautiful salads.

It had arugula, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese (shaved), cured beef, and an artichoke heart. Wonderful.

In general your basic building blocks are greens + protein + more veggies + fat? (cheese, olive oil, avocado) + crunch is a good place to start. Don't forget nuts, legumes, leftover corn, anchovies, etc.

Also, have you tried making kale salad? Wash a head of kale, de-stem, and then toss it in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and just massage it for a while. This makes the leaves tender and palatable. A wonderful for dressing for this (which you can use in lieu of olive oil for the massage) is peanut butter + garlic + lemon, and perhaps a little red pepper. Toss in some chicken and you've got something special.
posted by bunderful at 5:57 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Actually, crunch would have been a good place for a period.
posted by bunderful at 5:59 PM on August 16, 2012

Best answer: This summer, i can't stop making (and eating) a salad that's nothing but tomatoes, peaches, corn, and red onion. With balsamic and olive oil. And salt and pepper. And deliciousness.

In the winter, i really like a salad of arugula with thinly sliced fennel and oranges. I sometimes add cubes of feta to that one.

Tabouli is yummy and easy. Especially easy if you cheat and use couscous instead of bulgur. I like making it with a mixture of parsley with mint and basil.

Oh, and i recently through together a deliciously random salad of cubed roasted eggplant, quinoa, tomatoes, snow peas, green onions, asparagus, and goat cheese. (In other words, i had a bunch of stuff in my fridge and i mixed it together.) It was delish!

I also really enjoy is a plain ol' tomato salad, but that's cause i love tomatoes :)
posted by Kololo at 6:27 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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