I’ve always been a big salad person. It probably started because I thought they were healthy, or a healthy way of eating if you are away from the house. And for a while, I’m sure I just used salads as a vehicle to get ranch dressing into my body. Then, salads became unhealthy — and enter the 2000 calorie salads at Cheesecake Factory, which totally ruined all of that for me. 🙂
I still haven’t lost my love for salads. Now, I’m comfortable asking for what I don’t want on a salad when I’m out to eat, and I also love making my own salads at home.
We generally have a ton of veggies (fresh and frozen) at home, which makes it easy to throw together a big salad or side salad whenever we want it. So, when I don’t want to make a big production about a meal, I can use what we have and make a delicious, fresh salad.
*This post may contain affiliate links.
I have a few must haves for our salads. The one I am most passionate about is the use of Arugula. I believe it is the best tasting lettuce, and it actually has nutrients, unlike the super watery lettuce, like Iceberg. Arugula is in the same family as Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli, so it provides the same health benefits – namely oxidation of the blood, vitamin K for bone health and antioxidants that help lower blood glucose.
Another staple that I must have is beans – black, kidney, great northern, garbanzo. You name a bean, I’ll add it to a salad. Beans are one of the healthiest things you can eat. I usually use the ones in the can and try to find low sodium ones. I just give them a good rinse before I use them.
I also love pickled onions and will add them to any salad. I’ve found a recipe to make them at home and have been using that so i can make sure I have pickled red onions around when I need them.
My final (and newest) staple is quinoa. I love the nutty taste, the fiber and the 1 minute cook time (in the Instant Pot).
So, enough dilly-dallying, this is the recipe that I’m using lately (probably over-using TBH). It is super filling and I don’t feel like I need a snack 20 minutes after I eat it. I attribute that to the beans and the quinoa. This recipe makes about 4 salads, we eat it for 2 days at least. On the third day, usually there is still some quinoa at the bottom of the bowl, so I just add a new batch of veggies and its like we have a brand new salad.
3 handfuls of arugula
3 colorful peppers (green, red, yellow or orange) chopped small
2 cans of beans (black, kidney, white, great northern, garbanzo, etc)
Bunch of sprouts (your choice)
Cooked quinoa (I make 1 cup uncooked, which yields about 1.5 cups cooked)
Pistachios or other nuts (optional) (I like a little crunch)
Apple or other fruit (optional)
Pumpkin seeds or other seeds (optional)
Throw it all in a big bowl and mix 🙂
I just discovered this Bragg’s Salad Dressing. It is super light and not oily!
We have several variations of this salad every week. Some days we use black beans, some days kidney beans. Some days we use quinoa, and today I made millet. So, use what you have.
As a general rule, include a green, a bean and a grain. Super easy, super satisfying and super cheap!!