How to make the perfect salad

Rainbow Salad.jpg

After eating my body weight in bite size chocolate for Halloween as well as birthday cake for, birthday, my body is literally calling out for fresh produce! Cue this rainbow salad that took only five minutes to prepare thanks to using up leftover chargrilled peppers from last nights dinner. Many of my clients particularly struggle with having time to fit in a nutritionally balanced lunch and it got me thinking - what makes the perfect salad that will keep you full all afternoon? 

Below is a list of all of the elements that you should try to include in a salad; but it doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming, especially if you have extra left over veggies to throw in too. I also always have those handy pre-cooked lentil or grain pouches in my cupboards so that I can just chuck them in without any cooking time too. Either that, or I make double or triple batches when I cook my grains and keep them in the fridge ready to make a healthy lunch.  When I know I am going to be short on time, I like to make a salad the night before (but without adding any dressing) and then I can take it with me for lunch on the run. 

A hearty salad that will actually satisfy you shouldn’t just be a bowl of leaves. It should be nourishing and filling and have a good mix of protein, complex carbohydrates and vegetables that will provide a whole host of micronutrients and fibre. 

Try to include the following:

·     A green base (rocket, spinach, watercress, gem lettuce etc)
·     Some whole grains (like quinoa, freekah, rice or spelt)
·     Some protein (tinned lentils, tempeh, tofu, leftover roast chicken, tinned beans like butter beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans or kidney beans; smoked salmon, cheese)
·     Raw veggies (tomatoes, carrots, radishes, peas, asparagus, shaved brussels sprouts, avocado)
·     “Wow” veggies (leftover roasted or sautéed vegetables like peppers, courgettes, red onions, sweet potato, butternut squash, fennel or beetroot)
·     Some crunch (nuts, seeds, roasted chickpeas, croutons)
·     Added extras (probiotic sauerkraut, kimchi, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, pickles, sweet black garlic) 

Top Tip: If you are meal prepping for the week ahead, pour some vinaigrette into the bottom of a glass jar and layer the salad on top. That way, when you are ready to eat it, just tip it upside down to dress it - and enjoy!