June is the perfect time to turn off your oven and let salad take center stage in your meals. A salad is more than just lettuce, croutons, and a little dressing — add nuts or seeds, cooked grains, fresh or canned fruits, raw or cooked vegetables to jazz up your daily salad.
Including protein from canned beans, hard cooked eggs, canned tuna, or salmon, cheese, or cooked chicken is a great way to easily upgrade your salad into a filling and nutritious meal. Be adventurous and try different salad greens or salad mixes – shredded cabbage, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts pair well with other more tender greens such as Spring mix, leaf lettuce, crispy lettuce, arugula, or baby spinach. A salad meal also provides a way to use up leftover roasted or cooked vegetables.
Crunch is another important salad element – try diced celery, apple, toasted nuts, or crumbled pita chips. Remember to include a healthy fat, such as avocado, hummus, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils.
For dressing, drizzle over your favorite bottled or just extra virgin olive oil and a vinegar or lemon juice. If you have fresh herbs on hand – mint, basil, parsley, chives – toss them in your salad as well. Make your salad meals your own creative creations – there really are no rules!
And now a special recipe from Rose Clifford, Senior Manager of Nutrition Programs, and Nina Austin, Director of Administration:
Rose & Nina’s Favorite Salad (a “no-recipe” recipe)
Toss the following ingredients together: arugula (or your favorite salad green), mandarin orange segments (canned & drained or fresh), crumbled feta or goat cheese, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper to taste. Tuna is our favorite protein to add to this salad.