Salad alternatives. – We all know countless health benefits when it comes to leafy greens. Energy, longevity, detoxification, the list goes on. Buying lettuce, spinach and kale is the easy part. But once those green goddesses wilt into brown, having been neglected at the back of the refrigerator for “I forget how long”, we get discouraged. Why are raw vegetables so undesirable!? Do not despair! Leafy greens can be limitless.
Here are some creative ways to sneak more greens into your diet, despite your distain for the sometimes tasteless, yet supreme superfoods.
1. Green Toppings. Add to Pizza, Pasta, Toast…
I know, I know. Why would you want to “ruin” such delicious dishes? A carb splurging moment should not be insulted by these green imposters of health! But trust me! You’ll do yourself a favor of flavor…
- Top your pizza with fresh arugula or spinach.
- Top your pasta with fresh basil or oregano.
- Top your toast with fresh mint, cilantro or parsley.
- Fresh cilantro, lime or lemon, sea salt and pepper over avocado for a guacamole style spread.
- Fresh mint, lemon, olive oil and pomegranate over hummus for a hearty Mediterranean toast.
- Fresh parsley over pre-made tomato, pepper or eggplant spreads.
You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy it! And my, does it make for a pretty presentation!
2. Herb “Salads”. Tabouli + Other Herbal Creations…
If you’re like me, you find it hard to stomach house salad. Sliced Iceberg, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, chopped onion…I’m literally losing my appetite. While I may whine about lettuce, I’ve discovered a newfound desire for delicious herbs! They’re just as nutritious (sometimes even more) than lettuce and herbs are packed with way more flavor. Here are some creative ideas for my new favorite thing…herb salad!
- Tabouli. This Mediterranean favorite typically consists of mixing chopped parsley, mint, cooled couscous (cooled quinoa also works!), onion, tomato, lemon and salt.
- ‘Mint Madness’. Mint matches surprisingly well with many ingredients. Try chopping mint and mixing it with various fresh fruits like strawberries, peaches, raspberries and drizzling with a basaltic vinaigrette. It makes for a sweet treat. Rather, if you prefer savory, mint can do that too. Mix mint with vegan cheese crumbles, sun-dried tomatoes, croutons and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Smoothies. Fruity, Juicy + Cool Summer Treats…
The well-known way to sneak in the greens is with smoothies. It’s incredible how the green taste magically disappears when blended into oblivion. Here are a few mixes:
- ‘Berry Blizzard’. Fresh or frozen berries, banana, spinach or kale, plant-milk and a spoon full of nut butter. Add a pitted date or two to up the sweetness.
- Mango + Parsley. Mix frozen mango chunks with parsley. It’s that simple! It sounds bizarre but this combo is a staple for my summer sweet tooth. Who thought the two would compliment each other so swimmingly!? You never know til you try!
- Infused Water. You can simply let mint, basil, cilantro or other herbs infuse in water and mix with citrus slices from limes, lemons or oranges. You won’t get the full nutrition benefits or the herbs unless you chomp down the chilled leaves at the bottom of your glass.
Don’t have a blender? Here’s one you’ll just love!
- The fastest, easiest solution for making nutrient-packed smoothies.
- Load it up with your favorite whole foods like nuts, berries and spinach.
- Push, twist and blend your way to a healthier lifestyle.
- We love it!
4. Salad Combos. They Make All The Difference…
Experiment with a few different combinations of ingredients you wouldn’t necessarily pair. Speaking of pears…
- Pear Salad Combo:
- vegan cheese crumbles
- balsamic vinegar
- candied walnuts or pecans (homemade of course! slowly heat your skillet and gently stir sugar with walnuts or pecans until the sugar has melted and nuts are doused in deliciousness)
- lettuce and/or arugula
- Hummus Salad Combo:
- croutons (make your own by dicing a stale (once fresh) bread loaf…it’s that easy!)
- olive oil
- sun-dried tomatoes
- arugula and/or lettuce
- Mexican Salad Combo:
- black beans
- salsa or diced tomatoes
- lime or lemon
- vegan sour cream and/or vegan cheese
- tortilla chips
- hot sauce
5. Holy Kale! Sautéed or Baked Greens For A Savory Sensation.
Kale is a favorite but you can also cook spinach in a savory style but it will melt down significantly! Frozen spinach is more economical and great for stews, sauces and more.
- Kale chips
- Blend cashews, red bell pepper, lemon or any other combo of flavor to create a thick batter. Cover chip-sized kale leaves in the batter and bake.
For a simpler version, just mix chip-sized kale leaves in olive oil / salt and bake. They’re still very flavorful!
- Sautéed kale
- Warm up some olive oil in the skillet and slowly stir in some salted kale. Brown to desired crunch and season.
However you get leafy greens, even if it’s by sneaking them into carbs, sweets, etc. it’s ALWAYS better than getting no greens at all!
Buy them organic since you want to avoid pesticides. Leaves are obviously very vulnerable and unprotected and tend to get doused with chemicals or in the case of kale, absorb toxic elements in the soil unless it’s organic.
Leafy greens don’t have to be expensive! You can even buy frozen leafy greens if that works better for you or if they’re not in season. Frozen foods get a bad rap but these veggies are picked during peak ripeness. The cold temperatures actually preserve a lot of nutrients.
Ultimately, fresh is best. Better yet you can easily grow your own herbs!
Can you think of creative ways to sneak greens into your diet?