I eat salads for lunch almost every day of the week. Boring? Repetitive? Veg-egregious? No. Because I am adamant about keeping my salads exciting. And because the more vegetables I eat, the better I feel, and the healthier I am.
Lunch is the perfect time for a salad. No stove? No freezer? No problem! Just a packed Pyrex with a boatload of veggies and all the ingredients I need for salad dressing at my desk.
The problem with salads is that most people have a narrow mind about what a “salad” is.
Standard American Salad
A pale green watery collection of lettuce and one, MAYBE two vegetables, topped with processed dressing with more sodium, dairy and sugar than anything remotely resembling what a real salad dressing is supposed to be.
Typically composed of: Iceberg lettuce and/or romaine lettuce, tomatoes, MAYBE some shredded carrots, croutons, and unnaturally orange cheese topped with 25-ingredient Italian or Ranch dressing.
No offense, but YUCK. That is not a salad in my book.
Salad, As-It-Should Be
Dark, leafy greens, mixed with AT LEAST 4 different nutrient-rich vegetables with lots of color and texture, topped with a simple homemade salad dressing, mainly consisting of oil, vinegar and a seasoning or two.
Sorry to be so harsh, but if you’re going to eat salad, you should EAT SALAD. As in veggie-packed, high vitamin, high fiber, low-sugar BOWL OF VEGETABLES!
Okay, I’ll stop yelling now. I’m not yelling at you guys. More at the restaurants who have established the pathetic excuse for what we now know to be the “salad.”
So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to give you guys a laundry list of alternative ideas for what to put in your salads, you’re going to try it, love it, and become…
(one of those people in the office that everybody admires because they always have the most delicious, looking healthy salad for lunch).
I know it is easy to get caught up in the same-old, same-old. And we all have our vegetables that we’re comfortable with. There’s nothing wrong with lettuce and tomatoes. But let’s see if we can push the envelope a little more. Here we go.
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Spring Mix
- Red Cabbage
- Heirloom Carrots (come in dark reds and purples and orange)
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Red Peppers, Orange Peppers
- Microgreens/Alfalfa Sprouts
Prepared Toppings (AKA, I’m-So-Fancy Toppings):
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Turnips and Rutabagas
- Shitake Mushrooms, Sautéed in Ghee
- Red Onions, Sautéed in Ghee
Healthy Boosters (AKA, Now you're just showing off):
- Hemp Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds or Pepitas
- Goji Berries
- Nutritional Yeast
Homemade Dressing Hacks:
Keep all of the basics for homemade salad dressing at your desk, and you'll never have to worry about processed, over-sugared, seed oil dressing again. Below are some of my favorite dressing combos.
- Apple Cider Vinegar + All-Purpose Seasoning + EVOO (My everyday go-to)
- Lemon Juice + Herbs De Provence + S&P + EVOO
- White Wine Vinegar + Oregano + S&P + EVOO
- Balsamic Vinegar + Rosemary & Thyme + EVOO
- Apple Cider Vinegar + Dijon Mustard + S&P + EVOO
Alright great. So now you're wondeing, where do I start? What ingredients go together? And are you seriously asking me to make a salad everyday, Stacey? YES. But don't worry. I wouldn't leave you hanging like that. I've pooled together some of my favorite recipes from the Healthy Stacey instagram account. I try my darndest to post all of my favorite foods on there – complete with recipes – so you guys can recreate the dishes as you please. I gotta tell you, looking back at some of my favorites throughout the year brought back some good lunch time memories (you think I'm joking, but I'm not).
HEALTHY STACEY SALAD INSPIRATION
Tuna Dijon Salad:
Best desk salad yet! Kale, red cabbage, celery, bell peppers, and #wildplanetfoods Tuna topped with a homemade Dijon vinaigrette dressing (lemon juice, Dijon mustard, touch of honey, S&P, and olive oil). Super crunchy and refreshing. Oh yeah, and detoxifying! Note the giant gnome in the picture is indeed me. Curious? You should be. Shout out to my gnomies @nzs_photo and @angeline.gigi. @wildplanetfoods #healthystaceyblog #healthyeats #desksalad #christmasdecorations #foodiechats #paleo #paleolunch #christmas #foodblog #wildcaught #detox #kale #crunchythings #greenthings #faketrees
Lemony Sardine Salad:
Work from Home Salad. Laptop: check. Fireplace: check. Full-service kitchen: check. A girl could get used to this. Recipe: Saute shredded carrots, red cabbage and garlic in coconut oil. Put atop a bed of spinach, and top with avocado slices and sardines. Dressing was a squeeze of lemon, the EVOO from the sardine can, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Fresh cracked pepper and Himalayan sea salt are the sprinkles on top 🤗. #healthystaceyblog #healthyeats #healthaholic #foodblog #foodiechats #paleo #paleoish #paleoblog #paleolunch #whole30 #wildplanetsardines #wildplanetfoods #yellowthings #workinggirl #copywriter
Beet It Salad:
Santas Suitcase Salad. All packed and ready to go! Beet salad and a kombucha to get in as much healthy eating as possible before all hell breaks lose in Alabama. Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Recipe: Swiss chard, heirloom carrots, celery, red cabbage, grilled chicken, topped with a homemade mustard vinaigrette (made with Braggs apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, fennel, salt and pepper, and olive oil). Chop everything up real tiny so every bite has a bit of everything. Christmas here I come! #healthystaceyblog #healthyeats #foodiechats #paleo #paleosalad #homemade #cabbage #swisschard #greens #purplethings @bragglivefoods #braggsapplecidervinegar #christmas #christmaseveeve
Pink and Green Salad:
Pink and green salad. My new obsession discovered this Thanksgiving. Tastes so good after a heavy weekend of turkey, cake and wine. Recipe: kale, red cabbage, pomegranates, and I just added arugula into the mix. Top with Dijon vinaigrette – a mix of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, S&P, and a touch of honey. #healthystaceyblog #healthyeats #thanksgiving2015 #thanksgivinghangover #foodhangover #paleo #paleothanksgiving #foodiechats #foodblogger #nomnomnom #kale #cabbage #pinkthings #preppy #katespadesalad #thanksgivingdetox #detox
And the Beet Goes On Salad
The "And the Beet Goes On" salad. Starting to be very grateful that my back has forced me to stay home all day. A day filled with good music, my favorite podcasts, stretching and laundry-folding. It's like God gave me permission to relax. Recipe: sauté onions in coconut oil for 2-3 minutes, add kale for another 3, add in cooked sliced beets for the last minute (trader joes sells them pre-cooked), turn off grill, prepare plate with spring greens and sliced avocado, add your sautéed stuff on top, whisk balsamic vinegar and olive oil together for dressing. So rich (in health and taste – cha-Ching!) #beets #beetlove #thebeets #avocado #paleo #paleosalad #homemade #killertofu #dougfunny #healthystaceyblog #traderjoes
Farmers Market Salad:
The Farmers-Markets-are-soooo-much better-than-grocery-stores Salad. Kale, Cremini mushrooms (from #rivervalleykitchens) the sweetest orange grape tomatoes I've ever eaten, fresh blueberries, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage and bee pollen, topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. @greencityfulton @greencitymarket #greencitymarket #eatlocal #shoplocal #blueberries #foodiechats #westloop #nomnomnom #healthystaceyblog #farmersmarket #chicagosummer #paleo
The Veggie Garden Salad:
The Veggie Garden salad. Not from my veggie garden. I live in an apartment with a teeny balcony. But it has come from SOMEBODYS veggie garden. Local micro greens, chopped cabbage, #organic cherry tomatoes, portobello mushrooms and cilantro. Fresh to death. #healthystaceyblog #saladlove #paleo #local #eatlocal #paleolunch #veggielove #cabbagepatch #foodiechats #artizonechicago #artizone
Oh-Mega 3 Salad (AKA, the ugly salad):
OH-mega 3 Sardine Salad! Has to be the quickest, easiest and ugliest meal I ever made. But it's so tasty and really really good for you. One of the best sources of Omega 3 (good for inflammation) comes from one of the cheapest fish you can buy: sardines. Ingredients: 1/2 avocado, tin of #traderjoes sardines in olive oil, dash of turmeric (anti-inflammatory), dash of garlic powder, dash of onion powder, dash of nutritional yeast (b vitamin), hemp seeds (more omega 3!), and tomatoes (to make it pretty). Oh, and just a touch of primal mayo. Don't knock it till you try it! #braggs #omega3 #antiinflammatory #paleo #sardines #avocadolove #avocado #easypeasy #easypaleo #paleodinner #paleobowl #healthystaceyblog #marksdailyapple #primalmayo
Chicken Salad with Cauliflower Croutons:
Chicken kale salad with cauliflower croutons. If my trip to #LA taught me anything, it's that this is the year of the cauliflower. Kind of like the year of the dragon. But crispier. How-to: Coat cauliflower in coconut oil, drench it in fresh lemon juice and sprinkle it with garlic, S&P. Roast at 425 for total of 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Crunchy, bright, yum. #nomnomnom #cauliflower #LAtaughtmeeverythingiknow #paleo #healthgeek #healthydinner #healthystacey #foodstories
Avocado Shell Salad:
Packed lunch made with sunshine and reggae music. Slightly delusional about how much winter is left. Mixed my homemade salad dressing in the avocado shell: Apple cider vinegar, oregano, cumin, S&P, EVOO. Salad: arugula, #traderjoes heirloom carrot, celery, #avocado. Better than any lunch I can buy. #isspringhereyet #paleolunch #paleosalad #healthystacey #packedlunch
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