By Molly Patrick
Feb 27, 2021
When most people think about switching to a whole food plant based diet, they revolt because they don’t want to eat salad for every meal of every day for the rest of their life. Fair enough, I don’t want to do that either.
But what most people don’t realize is that regardless of how someone eats, when done the right way, salads can be a totally satisfying, delicious, mouthgasmic, and crave-worthy experience that is far from sad and boring.
People who follow our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans already know this, but I’m going to lay out a blueprint for you today so you can see exactly how a seriously scrumptious salad is done.
Make your salad by following the 6-step blueprint in the order I’ve laid it out for you. Play around with all the various ingredients and use different combinations each time.
Lettuce and Leafy Greens
Choose one type of lettuce or combine a couple different types. Throw in some leafy greens for an added nutrient boost.
Lettuce examples: Romaine, green leaf, red leaf, butter
Leafy greens examples: arugula, bok choy, kale, watercress, spinach
Tips: Chop or tear your lettuce and leafy greens into whatever size that you enjoy eating.
I don’t include lettuce and leafy greens into this category because I think of them as the base. The additional veggie part is where things start to get interesting because you can have fun with texture.
Examples: Cucumber, radish, bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, cooked or raw beets, jicama.
Tips: Choose veggies with different textures to keep things interesting.
Bulk it up
This will separate the side salads that you eat with a meal from the salads that are the meal. Add some hearty ingredients that will fill you up and keep you fueled for hours.
Examples: Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas), quinoa, kidney beans, baked tofu, potato, tempeh, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, rice, corn, edamame beans.
Tips: Choose one bulky ingredient or several. I like cooking my beans from scratch, but if you use canned beans, be sure to rinse them well and then drain them before you add them to your salad. These “bulky” ingredients are all yummy added cold, but if you want to warm them up, feel free. Just don’t heat them up too much or they will make the lettuce wilt instead of being nice and crisp.
These are things that will take your salad to the next level. Not only will they create an interesting and satisfying texture, they will also add a punch of flavor.
Examples: Fresh mint, apple, fresh parsley, pomegranate seeds, sauerkraut, hummus, halved grapes, thinly sliced red onion, cashew cheese, sprouts, avocado, fresh basil, avocado, roasted garlic cloves, olives, berries, raisins, pear, chickpea tuna.
Tips: If you’re having trouble coming up with extras to add to your salad masterpiece, think about what you might add to a sandwich. Sandwich ingredients often go very well on big, satisfying salads.
A couple weeks ago, I talked about how much more delicious and healthy homemade salad dressings are than store-bought salad dressings. Yummy homemade salad dressing is a must for scrumptious salad.
Tip: This is one of my all-time favorite salad dressing recipes.
It’s all about texture, baby! One of the things that people don’t realize when switching to a whole food plant based diet is the importance of texture. You aren’t going to have the sensation of biting into meat when you eat this way, so it helps with the overall satisfaction of a meal if you build in multiple textures. Adding crunch to a salad is one of the best ways to achieve maximum salad satisfaction.
Tips: Be sure to add the crunchy stuff as the very last ingredient so it goes on top of the dressing. If you add the dressing on top of the crunchy stuff it will be less crunchy. Also, if you prep or make a big batch of a couple of different crunchy ingredients and keep them in your fridge, it makes it super fast to add them to your salads.
If you had to toast some seeds every time you made a salad you probably wouldn’t do it very often, but if you made a big batch and had them ready to go it would be much easier. Toasted seeds, croutons, and coconut bacon stay good for a ridiculous amount of time if you store them in the fridge.
Finding joy and satisfaction in eating a big, beautiful salad is truly a game changer. When you eat something healthy because you should, it’s not enjoyable or inspiring. When you eat something healthy because you seriously WANT TO, eating healthy becomes the obvious and easiest choice.
Why struggle with eating healthy when you don’t have to?
If you want more delicious and totally satisfying whole food plant based recipes, along with a weekly plan to help you eat mouthgasmic plants every day, check out our weekly Meal Plans and sign up for a free trial.
If you want to walk through the process of making super simple whole food plant based meals (including salad) with me, I made Kitchen Play just for you.
Today’s recipe is a delicious salad that you can follow before you venture out and make your own masterpiece.
Use as much of each as you'd like. Feel free to substitute or free-style the ingredients, it's your salad!
- Romaine lettuce, chopped
- Cabbage, sliced
- Carrot, chopped
- Bell pepper (any color), chopped
- Celery, sliced
- Frozen corn kernels, thawed
- Apple (any variety), diced
- Canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- Sprouts (any type, I like alfalfa sprouts)
- Caesar Dressing (homemade is best, see the link in the Notes)
- Pumpkin seeds, toasted (recipe linked in Notes)
- Place the romaine, cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, celery, corn, apple, black beans, and sprouts in a huge bowl. Top with dressing and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with salad!