If you're still on track to fulfilling your 2017 healthy eating goals, kudos to you. If you've fallen off the wagon (or never started), don't worry -- you don't have to eat broccoli and chicken breast, or a big bowl of bland salad, for the rest of your days.
Seriously, salads don't have to be boring. You just need to know how to jazz them up.
From adding roast veggies and spices, to getting creative with toppings and drizzling (way too much) delicious dressing on top, here are 12 ways to spice up your salad and make it actually delicious.
1. Add fruit
There's no reason why you can't add your favourite seasonal fruit to your salad. Thanks to their natural sweetness and freshness, fruit lends itself perfectly to slightly bitter greens. Try grapes, berries and mango in summer, or apple, pear and orange in winter. Dried fruit also works a treat in Middle Eastern style salads.
2. Marinate your protein
Adding protein to your salad means you'll feel fuller for longer (no one likes being hungry after an unsatisfying salad). But plain chicken, tofu or beef is boring. To make the most out of your salad, marinate your protein of choice -- try a maple tamari, satay, or a cumin garlic marinade.
3. Add roast veggies
To make your salad extra filling and delicious, roast some veggies and add them to your bowl. Sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, capsicum and onion all go perfectly in salad. Better yet, make these roast veggies your salad base.
4. Use LOTS of herbs and spices
To avoid boring, bland salads -- and make your meal actually flavourful -- you need to add herbs and spices. Seriously, don't be afraid when adding flavour. Try oregano, thyme and rosemary for an Italian feel; cumin, coriander and sumac for a Middle Eastern vibe; or fresh mint and basil for a bolder, summery flavour.
5. Add pasta or noodles
It's time to invite your favourite pasta or Asian noodles to the salad party. Pasta salad is an often forgotten meal (#bringbackpastasalad), but it completely transforms a salad into a filling, satisfying and scrumptious meal. Stick to wholemeal pasta to make it extra filling and nutritious.
6. Take inspiration from your favourite cuisines
Love Thai food? Or maybe Mexican? Incorporating flavours from your favourite cuisines is one of the best ways to make a super salad. Try Thai beef salad with extra veggies, or a packed burrito bowl with rice, spicy chicken or tofu, and a fresh salsa.
7. Add quinoa or rice
A simple fix to an unsatisfying salad is adding grains. With the added carbohydrates and energy, low GI grains like brown rice, barley, freekeh and quinoa will transform your salad from zero to hero. Throw in some spices and herbs while you're cooking the grain for good measure.
8. Add colour
There's nothing more boring than a plain green salad. Add colour to your bowl by using a variety of veggies, fruits, fresh herbs and condiments -- your salad will not only look better, but taste better too. Top tip: when the season changes, swap out ingredients for those in season. They'll be extra flavoursome and nutritious.
9. Add texture
Enjoying food is all about varying textures (no one wants soggy food with no crunch). To add textures to a usually one-dimensional salad, make sure some ingredients are cooked (e.g. caramelised roasted eggplant), while others are fresh (crunchy cucumber and capsicum). Stir through roasted nuts and seeds, or pomegranate arils. For a creamy texture, add avocado slices or Danish feta.
10. Make a bomb dressing
You can't have a good salad without a standout dressing -- and we don't mean olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Experiment with tahini, nut butters (like almond and peanut butter), tamari, herbs, spices, yoghurt and different sweeteners. A must-try is tahini maple dressing, which you can drizzle on everything, not just salad.
11. Get creative with toppings
You wouldn't have pizza without toppings, would you? Treat your salad as the base, and play around with toppings of all flavours, shapes and ingredients. Make croutons, add chia seeds, dollop on hummus or guacamole, sprinkle on roasted chickpeas, grated cheese, anything!
12. Serve it in a jar
To keep things interesting, and for a perfect on-the-go option, build your salad in a jar. You can place your dressing in first so that, once you pour the salad into the jar, the dressing will cover all the ingredients. Alternatively, dress the salad before you transfer it into your jar.
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