If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “salads are rabbit food” I would have enough money to fill a huge bag full of coins so I could wack them over the head with it. There are an abundance of fresh ingredients that you can add to bulk up salads so if you’re stuck in a rut and need some inspiration then you have come to the right place. Those little extra’s you have in your pantry or fridge can take your ordinary salads from drab to fab, whilst adding extra nutrients! So like I always say, get creative and try some new things. What is the worst that could happen? You don’t like it? Then you move on to the next combo!
There tends to be two camps of people out there, one that loves fruit in salads and one that can’t stand it. I encourage you to give it a go if you haven’t before you make a judgement, because certain fruits in salads can really up the ante with regards to flavour. For example, the sweetness in mango and tarte flavour of pomegranate will lift a soft flavoured salad, pear can give depth to a salad with a creamy, textured salad containing nuts or cheese, and finely sliced orange goes with everything! I sometimes even like to double up on the fruit – two in one salad!
Raw or toasted seeds not only add texture and crunch but bring with them a whole range of nutrients depending on what you add. Seeds are full of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, B vitamins, E vitamins, folate, protein and fibre (both soluble and insoluble) – all beneficial to our health! You could add sesame seeds, chia, hemp, pumpkin seeds or even flax!
Vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot are fabulous when diced, roasted, slightly cooled and added to your salads. They add bulk and additional flavour, especially if you roast them in spices! I find those vegetables are the most loved in salads, however you could also add steamed brocolli or or any other steamed greens, eggplant, mushrooms, capsicum etc.
Grains and Legumes
Adding grains of some sort to salads is not new, its fairly common to add some rice, pasta or noodles however have you tried branching out and adding grains you haven’t necessarily used before such as quinoa, freekeh, cous cous, semolina, or even different varieties of rice – black rice is one of my favourites! Not to mention by adding legumes such as chick peas, lentils, kidney beans or soya beans – you get added flavour, nutrients and bulk. Sometimes I like to roast the legumes in spices beforehand and cool slightly until they are crunchy.
I find nuts are looked over in salad making by many people but they can add some serious flavour and good fats to your salad dishes. Walnuts, almonds, pine nuts and pistachio’s are a match made in heaven with may of the abovementioned add ins. Not to mention they pair perfectly with most cheeses (feta, haloumi, chedder) in salads and give texture to softer salads that contain fruit. Chop them up, toast them, add them raw – the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.
So there you have it, some of the easy ways that you can bulk up your salads where even those ‘rabbit food’ hating skeptics will be swooning over your salad making skills. My mantra with food (which came from my dad growing up) is that you should always try something. If you don’t like it, that’s OK, you dont have to eat it again – but what is the harm in trying something? You might end up LOVING it – which in my experience tends to happen 90% of the time.
Get cracking with your salad add ons and share them with me by using #bodymindfull in your posts or by adding comments below, I would love to see them.
Furthermore, do you have any add ons to salads that you love adding? Do tell!