Yes, we all know salads are good for health. However well intentioned we may be, life happens and we find it difficult to keep up with our salad intake. In this article, we simplify the art of salad making and putting together simple yet tasty salads for everyday of the week. Read on to know more.
We hope you read our post on why raw food is important! If you are still feeling stuck, let’s get you started with veggie salads. Salads have that versatility to be a full-blown meal, the humility to stay as a side dish and the peppiness to be served as a snack! It is quick, easy and way healthier to prepare a salad than to cook a pot of food. But the truth is, no matter how good our intentions are to keep our diet healthier, in the constant tussle between the steamy pot and the colourful bowl of crunchy salad, the latter loses. If you have ever given a thought to it, you would realize that this failure has more to do with the pictures and ideas we invoke when we hear ‘salad’.
To most of us, salad is an accompaniment to the main meal and primarily contains kheera, tamatar, pyaaj. If you are asked to increase your salad intake, you wonder how much of the same stuff can you keep eating or you don’t find it tasty enough to eat enough or you find it difficult to organise as you are not used to it!!
The fact is like any other meal, salad too is an accommodating, sumptuous masterpiece of a meal provided we are ready to experiment and take it further beyond those pictures we have in our minds that discourage us. Building a habit becomes a cakewalk if we think outside the box. Here are some tricks and techniques that can help you simplify incorporating salad in your diet.
Stock up the staples for your SALAD BAR at home
This seems like a no-brainer but it can be a bit daunting to sort through the racing thoughts in mind in the nick of time. So better be prepared than perplexed. Let’s begin with the basics:
Vegetables – Of course! Stock up your refrigerator with local, seasonal, colourful vegetables. We tend to overlook this fact but Mother Nature knows what’s best for us in a particular season! And that is evident in her nutritious platter of different vegetables as per the season. Like right now, in the Delhi winters, our favourites are carrot, radish, spinach and beetroot.
Sprouts – Sprouts of green moong, moth bean, chickpeas etc make a great addition to salads and help bulk it up. Keep some sprouts handy in the refrigerator. Check out our article on sprouting.
Seeds and Nuts – Roasted peanuts, flaxseeds, sesame, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios. The tiny nutty delights are loaded with nutrition and make the perfect blend in a salad. You can roast them in generous quantities and stock in your kitchen jars as these have a longer shelf life as compared to fresh fruits and veggies. Soaking them or sprouting them are also good options provided you have the time and have done some preplanning.
Dips and Dressing – These are the zing factor of salad! Make dips and dressings over the weekend and stock in your refrigerator. Then all you need to do is add to your salads when you eat them. But don’t let this become a ‘task’. The super quick and easiest way is to make an instant dressing of lemon juice, honey, salt and a dash of black pepper. Keep your salad bar stocked with honey, lemon, fresh and dried herbs like coriander, mint, parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, red chilli flakes. They can be combined to make quick dressings.
The tools - A knife - preferably serrated-the one with jagged edges, a peeler and at the most a grater! That is all the tools you need – no fancy spiralizer or slicers. Long cuts, short cuts, juliennes or diced - you can achieve any cuts with these tools.
The basic techniques - Experiment with different techniques for chopping your vegetables for the salad. Dice them in cubes, slice them in circles, finely chop them, julienne them, grate them; peel it in long stripes- you are only limited by your imagination! Long shredded pieces of cabbage, long julienned pieces of carrot, green capsicum and beetroot. Picture this colourful combination wrapped around on a fork! That is what we are talking about! With a few humble tools and some creativity, you can make your platter of salad interesting and appealing.
Now that your salad bar is ready, all you need to do is mix and match. Do what is convenient for you; enjoying making your salad is as important as enjoying eating it. Follow your instinct!!
A quick tip: If you feel averse to eating raw veggies, always add a few cooked elements in your salad. For eg: chickpea, rajma, black chana, steamed potato, lobia, etc. As you get comfortable, keep increasing the proportion of raw veggies and keep reducing the cooked element.
Let's help you put it all together. Here is a format- a structure you can work with. A little forethought in preparing the menu, shopping and a wee bit of organizing and you are good to go. We will show you a one-week menu. That can give you a format to work and build your own salad menu for several weeks.
Roasted assorted nuts like almonds, sesame, peanuts etc.
The Monday mood
Steam potatoes. Cool them and dice them. Also, dice the tomatoes. Mix thinly sliced onions and lettuce. Blend honey, lemon juice and flakes together and dress it over the salad. Quick and easy!
Tonight do: soak the Chickpeas for tomorrow.
The Tuesday Tang
Steam the chickpeas. Mix chopped tomato, chopped onions, chopped cucumber and the tangy Imli chutney. A sumptuous filling salad for lunch!
The Wednesday Whooper
Today let’s grate some carrot and mix in some finely chopped spinach. Sprinkle a handful of roasted sesame. Blend some salt, lemon and jaggery together. Dress it over your salad.
A perfect bowl of nutrition!
The Thursday Theme
Today we will chop the spinach, the onions, and the tomatoes finely. We would add roasted and crushed peanuts to it. Blend lemon juice and jaggery. Enjoy this treat with gratitude!
The Friday Funda
Hey, it’s almost the weekend. Let’s have something special today. Peel and dice sweet potatoes, add chopped onions, diced zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Combine any roasted nuts. And now dress it with green chutney and imli chutney. Tasty and tangy delight!
The Saturday Signature
Take some steamed corn and mushroom. Add some diced capsicum (any colour). Add some chopped salad leaves. Dress this salad up with cashew dressing.
The Sunday Spirit
Sunday is so special; we have put together a salad that's special too. Kind of a trick and treat for your taste buds.
Chop lettuce into big pieces. Add carrot scrapes, cucumber slices, radish scrapes, cherry tomatoes cut in two halves, and some chopped roasted almonds. Blend cold pressed oil, crushed garlic, chilli flakes, lemon juice and a wee bit honey.
Dress up your salad. This is how sumptuousness feels like when it meets tangy.
Bonus Office tip!
If you plan to carry your salad to work, it may be handier to carry the dressing separately in a small bottle to prevent leakage mishaps from your lunch box!
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