Build a better salad

To most people, when they hear the saying ‘eat your greens’, they don’t have a wave of excitement wash over them. Loving veggies and greens is not something most of us are born with, although wouldn’t it make being a parent a lot easier! Eating nutrient-dense foods like kale, spinach, chard, and arugula are great for our bodies, but if you don’t enjoy eating them, what’s the point? Life is too short to eat bad food!

Salads are usually found on the side of the meal and often overlooked. But at Greenjoy, we make them the main feature. Making a move from side dish to main dish is all about the ingredients, textures, and toppings. Eating salad shouldn’t feel like a bore or a chore, so let’s dive into the many ways you can build a better salad!

You must start with a good base of greens. We love pulling some fresh from the garden or picking up organic options at the store. Vegetables like spinach, kale, celery are found on the Dirty Dozen List and often contain the highest amounts of pesticides if not farmed organically. Here’s the 2020 list of the Dirty Dozen as well as the Clean Fifteen to help you navigate the produce section and avoid toxic pesticides. With that said, one of our favorite organic brands is Josie’s Organic, which can be found across the United States or in Canada. We teamed up with Josie’s at The Fresh Market to build the ultimate summer salad, and we can be found next to each other in the refrigerated produce aisle in all Fresh Market locations.

Now that we have a solid base of greens, on to the fun part, let’s talk toppings!

Salad toppings

Add some SNAP

Texture is everything when it comes to building an epic bowl. You don’t have to have a fully stocked fridge to make something delicious, just add a few of these ingredients to your shopping list and be sure to pick up something new each time you go to the grocery store. Before you know it, you’ll have your own armory of toppings.

  • Sugar Peas or Sugar Snap Peas
  • Pickled Carrots or Onions
  • Sliced Radishes, Cucumbers, Zucchini, or Cabbage

Sugar Peas are great straight out of the fridge, or you can quickly blanch them. They are very low in calories but offer a little sweetness, so they are the perfect complement to more earthy ingredients like beets or turnips. Now, if you’re looking for flavor and color, go no further than pickled veggies. Pickling leftover produce is an awesome way to use up those remaining carrots, onions, or cauliflower, and Minimalist Baker has a great quick pickling recipe that will get you started.

We couldn’t talk about things that SNAP without mentioning sliced and diced veggies. Add serious nutrition and intrigue with an array of colorfully sliced vegetables. If you’re in a quick pinch, you can purchase some pre-sliced at the store, but you’ll save money if you buy in bulk and spend twenty minutes prepping for the week. Store some in reusable containers, so you have something healthy to reach for when you’re feeling snacky.

Add some CRUNCH

Ok, we might be a little biassed on this one because we make delicious salad toppings that take any dish up a notch and are seriously delicious and nutritious. Our plant-based, grain-free mixes are the perfect topping for your latest salad creation or just straight outta the bag as a snack. Not to mention the added fiber and protein that you get, you’ll stay fuller and more satisfied longer. Here are some other toppings that go, CRUNCH:

  • Popcorn
  • Roasted or Airfryer Chickpeas
  • Cheese Crisps
  • Crispy Brussels or Broccoli

Now, when it comes to salads, there’s always a seat a the table for croutons, but sometimes you want to change it up. Try cheese crisps instead and give yourself another gluten-free but high protein source for your salad. Whisps are great because they use 100% artisanal cheese without rBGH or rBST. We like the Parmesan flavor because it pairs nicely with our Parmesan Balsamic and Pomegranate Balsamic superfood dressings.

Another way to add crunchy variety to your bowl involves some of our favorite greens — Brussels and Broccoli. If you’re like us, you roast vegetables weekly and year-round. They’re a home run and so easy for weeknight meals or picky eaters. At the bottom of the pan, you always get the seasoned, really crispy ends. These make the PERFECT crunchy toppings for any salad and can be used instead of bacon bits. Next time you roast up Brussels or Broccoli, store these crispy ends in an airtight container and use the next day on your epic salad creation. Plant-based pro tip!

Nut salad toppings

Add a flavor POP

Incorporating some additional flavor bombs, as we like to call them, brings out the full vibrance of the dish. Flavor bombs are small yet powerful ingredients that make any salad memorable. Here’s a list of a few go-to flavor bombs that will enliven your next salad:

  • Fresh Berries in Place of Dried Fruit
  • Kimchi – We love Mother-In-Law’s Brand
  • Nutritional Yeast or Tahini
  • Grated Ginger or Beets
  • Squeezed Lime or Lemon Juice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar or Amino Acids

Never have a basic bowl again by incorporating some of these superfood toppings in your next salad. Adding different textures and tastes keeps it interesting, and you’ll be surprised with the many different combinations you create. Always remember to top your epic salad with a good, clean dressing. Greenjoy has eight delicious flavors to choose from, so you’ll never run out of ideas. If you’re craving something fruity, pick our Pomegranate, Blackberry or Orange Poppy Seed flavors. If you prefer something creamy, our Savory Pumpkin Seed, Turmeric Maple, or Tomato Blue Cheese will suit your fancy. Or if you want a little punch, try our Parmesan Balsamic or Sesame Ginger. You can’t go wrong!

Remember to tag us in your creations @greenjoylife or share this article with a friend who is looking for some green inspiration.