Mmm I love lunch time. My lovely husband is on salad duty every morning and always sorts us both out with a salad packed with nutritious goodness to keep us both going throughout the afternoon. I always get a little bored with salads and find that shop bought/pre packed salads are full of dairy and/or gluten meaning I have to be prepared and take my own lunch to work. But this means I get to pick what I eat, which is much better!
I’m quite particular about my salads, too. They need to have a bit of everything so that I don’t get bored with every mouthful. We tend to add a lot of grated courgette, raw beetroot and carrots along with a nice mix of lentils and beans for protein. We have the staples such as lettuce, spinach, peppers and tomatoes and we usually add some sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin D and they’re pretty tasty so they’re a staple in our salads.
I normally start salad preparation on a Sunday evening by roasting some sweet potato and boiling lentils, peas and beans read for the week ahead. this makes it easier in the mornings and it’s just a case of prepping the fresh vegetables.
I’ve recently tried adding kale to my salads, kale is best if you mix a little tamari and lime juice and rub it into the leaves to make them more tender and it tastes better if they’ve sat for a couple of hours before you eat it. Don’t leave them too long before eating though as I’ve found they can start to taste a little bitter when you do this.
You could also add some raw broccoli to your salads. Broccoli is really filling and a great source of iron. If I add broccoli I always let it sit for a while in a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, again this helps make it more tender, it still has a nice crunch though.
I don’t use any shop bought dressings on my salads as these tend to be full of rubbish. I find the best dressing is a little olive oil along with some balsamic vinegar. Or I often make my own dressing using olive oil as a base with some blended chilli, garlic or fresh herbs (such as basil) for that extra flavour. The unsaturated fat in olive oil combined with the nitrile in vegetables helps to lower our blood pressure. Olive oil is also said to help your body absorb the antioxidants in the salad and means you’re getting much more of the carotenoids that help protect us from cancer and heart disease as well as promoting our eye health. It’s win win in my eyes – taste and health benefits! (no pun intended). If you want to read a little more about the benefits of using Olive Oil as a salad dressing I found a couple of articles for you, one on Olive Oil Times and the other was an article in the Telegraph.