The warmer months are upon us and that means one thing, salads are on the menu!
With all the beautiful colours that come with summer fruits and vegetables, there is nothing quite like tucking into a hearty salad on balmy evenings. Throw away the notion that salads are for those on diets or perhaps not substantial enough as a standalone meal. Adding in complementary ingredients not only improves nutrient uptake but also provides the opportunity to create a balanced meal including carbohydrates, good fats, and protein sources.
The latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates Australians are only buying enough vegetables for 2.3 daily serves, well short of the recommended five or more daily serves. These figures are concerning, given the importance of a vegetable-rich diet in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the myriad health benefits that come from eating fresh vegetables. With one serving of vegetables equivalent to half a cup of cooked vegetables, half a medium potato, or one cup of salad vegetables, here are some tips to help you jazz up a salad, make it more satisfying and include your daily 5.
13 Satisfying Ways to Jazz A Salad
Pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, zucchini, eggplant, corn, artichokes the list goes on. Cut and roast veggies in one big batch and store them in the fridge for use during the week. They make great mason jar fillers for portable go to work lunches.
Sprinkled lightly you’ll hardly even know to notice it, but the good news is quinoa adds bulk, protein, and carbohydrates for energy. Rinse and cook similar to rice.
If you’re after a post-workout meal, rice is your go-to, With the addition of brown rice to your salad, it’s a sure-fire way to restore depleted energy stores. Rice teams brilliantly with vegetables. Or try cold rice noodles used in the same way.
Tinned tuna in spring water or smoked salmon can luxe up any salad with the bonus of adding in protein for satiety.
Roasted pinenuts are the ducks nuts in salads and so too are walnuts, pecans, and roasted cashews.
Boil and slice an egg and serve on top of your usual salad, for a great protein addition!
Chickpeas, kidney beans, butter beans, lentils so many beans to choose from. High in iron, beans and lentils aid in iron absorbency when teamed with white meats while adding bulk for a robust meal.
Sliced finely avocado this will add a serve of good fats to your dish while helping you resist the cookie jar later in the day.
Grated lightly and sprinkled over your greens, the cheese will always entice the fussiest of eaters! Get adventurous with fetta, halloumi, goats, or parmesan.
It may seems like a pointless addition, but once chia seeds enter the digestive tract, they absorb water to help with the feeling of fuller for longer. With plenty of other benefits.
Watermelon, apple, pears, pomegranate, peaches, and mango … where do I start?
Excite your tastebuds with mint, coriander, parsley, chives. Start your own planter box and have your favourite herbs at the ready.
Alfalfa sprouts, mung beans, broccoli sprouts. Sprouts are a sure way to break up the lettuce monotony while maintaining fibrous bulk.
Roasted Chicken Dukkha Balls with Quinoa Salad
Ingredients – Serves 4
+ 500gm pumpkin, cubed
+ 1 cup diced cucumber; seeds removed
+ 4 large mushrooms, diced
+ 500gm kale leaves
+ 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
+ 500gm chicken mince
+ 1 cup processed rice cake crumbs (for a gluten-free option), feel free to use breadcrumbs
+ approx. 30 gm pistachio dukkha (find this in spices section)
+ Salt and pepper to taste
1// To make the meatballs combine the mince, dukkha, and rice crumbs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. With wet hands roll into small balls (makes about 30) Lightly coat in dukkha and place on two well-oiled oven trays.
2// Toss the pumpkin in oil and place it on an oven tray and cook in a moderate oven (160) for about 10 mins.
3// After 10 mins add the chicken balls and bake for a further 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through
4// Place the quinoa in a saucepan with about an equal amount of water and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for about 12-15 minutes or until the little rings of Saturn begin to appear from the grain (you will see what I mean). Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
5// Add the meatballs, kale, pumpkin, mushrooms, cucumber to a share board or bowl and toss through. Serve as is or with a sprinkle of vinaigrette.