How To Make A Nutritious, Filling, And Delicious Salad
Salads have earned a bad, and well, inaccurate, rep. Contrary to popular belief, salad is not all phool patti, and a balanced bowl of greens and reds and yellows can indeed be quite filling and fulfilling.
Until only a few years ago, the only kind of salad that was readily available was a Ceaser Salad - the most boring salad we've ever had, TBH! Or, the desi version of sliced cucumber, tomato, radish and onion, which doesn't serve as more than a fibre-heavy side dish. Justifiably, then, for most of us, salads aren't exactly regarded as a full meal because in a typical Indian diet, they are not. Salad is an option.
A few years ago, however, the young, Urban desis started a cultural revolution. We started working out in new and innovative ways. We started experimenting with organic produce. We started learning about sustainable living. And, well, we started eating salads. In the last few years, there has been an advent of health food joints all across big cities like Delhi and Mumbai, and this culture is seeping into second tier cities as well. We are a health-conscious generation, and it's time we make salad our friend!
The myth that salad is all leaves and some dressing has been duly debunked, thanks to restaurants serving up some creative bowls. We've seen a trend of many health conscious men and women trading rolls, naan, burgers and such, for a bowl of salad, when eating out. But, a balanced salad lunch should be something that can be prepped at home, right?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you're making a nutritious, filling, and delicious salad:
Go light on the dressing
Some lemon, olive oil and seasoning works just fine for most salads. If you want more flavour, you can add some mustard or honey, depending on what kind of flavour you're going for. Point is to keep the dressing light and use non-cream based products. In most cases, though, you need very little because the flavour comes from the juices of the ingredients you put in your salad bowl. Heavy dressings make for heavy salads, and frankly, they kind of ruin the taste!
Salad can, and SHOULD be protein heavy. Add boiled chicken, shrimp, egg, chickpea, kidney beans, or even good ole paneer! Without a good share of protein, your salad is a waste!
Keep it cool
Warm salads don't work. An under-appreciated quality of salads is that they are supposed to be refreshing, and warm food seldom is refreshing. You can, of course, cook the ingredients as and when required (for example, boiled potato, chicken, chickpeas etc), but you must do it in a way that you are able to cool it in the refrigerator before serving it.
If you add leaves, they should not constitute more than 10% of your salad
You must remember that salad is not synonymous with leaves! In fact, a good salad has very little leaves. You can make a bowl entirely without any lettuce or rocket. That said, leaves do have their nutritional benefits, and should be incorporated. But, keep it to only 10% of the entire bowl.
Have a hero ingredient
Make a salad bowl around a hero ingredient. What are you in the mood for today? Chicken? Chickpeas? Strawberries? Mango? Bacon? Potatoes? Pick a hero ingredients, and then make a salad with other ingredients that would go well with it. It makes it easier to cook up a salad you will actually enjoy!
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