They are a great way to add vegetables and greens to our diets without adding a lot of calories. A common notion is that if you are eating a salad it is healthy but depending on what you put into it, salads can be calorie bombs too. Heavy cream based and store bought dressings (like mayo) taste great but defeat the purpose of eating healthy. For dressings use olive oil lemon juice, garlic, spices - keep it light. Fruits and salads can make a mini-meal with the inclusion of all food groups. When we go out to eat, those who are watching their weight, would rather order a healthy salad. A green salad with low oil healthy dressing is the best choice. Add a sprinkling of salt and lemon juice on the table and consume immediately. Special chef-style salads are high in saturated fat, thanks to all that cream and cheese. Also avoid the Caesar’s salad because it has an egg-based dressing, fried croutons and cheese: all high in both fat and cholesterol. A well-prepared and well-thought out salad can be a substitute to a full meal. Here’s how!
Pick a fresh base
Green leafy vegetables like lettuce, radish leaves, cabbage, spinach should be bought fresh. Choose leaves that are crisp. This sort of base ensures fibre, minerals, iron, Vitamin A in plenty. A Greek Salad is a great example of loaded leafy salad.
Pasta, boiled rice, burghul, meat, cut vegetables, chuks of paneer and tofu cubes, fruits, raisins, nuts, legumes, grains, pulses, sprouts will give you carbohydrates, some protein, fat-soluble vitamins and essential amino acids. Pasta salads and the likes mentioned above can be a complete meal.
Be choosy about dressing
Forget the cream and mayonnaise, it can make salads a calorie bomb. Vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, hung yogurt, fruit juice, wine are excellent choices. Besides flavour, dressings add moisture, taste and seasoning to the salad making it more palatable. They also enhance the nutritive value adding vitamins and antioxidants.
Almonds, walnuts, pinenuts, sunflower seeds, basil seeds, chia seeds, raisins, pistachios, melon seeds all have a unique taste of their own and can be a healthy addition to any salad. Go one step ahead and caramalize them for a whole crunchy sweet new dimension, like this Chilli Bean and Caramelized Walnut Salad. Also do not miss out micro greens - finish off your salad with a handful of them and you’ve got taste, texture, health and presentation all taken care of in one little step. You read all about them here.
Presentation is key
You eat with your eyes first, so make sure your salad is pretty looking. Pick cutlery with care – the bowl in which the salad is being served should be large enough to hold the salad comfortably. Do not cut up the ingredients so they are so big that they need to be cut while eating the salad and not so small that the juices and flavours are lost. You can also pack your salad in a jar!
Some amazing Salad recipes for you!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.