Salads aren’t that hard to make. You throw a few vegetables together, top with some dressing, and voila! You’ve got yourself a salad.
The challenge (which may be too strong a word, it still isn’t all that hard) comes when you want to make that salad a meal. Then you want to make sure that you have a variety of healthy greens, crunchy and filling vegetables, some type of protein source, and possibly a grain or fruit for extra flavor and to balance it all out nutritionally.
I eat a lot of salads. A whole lot. Especially in the summer when I would just as soon not heat up my house by using the oven or even the stovetop. Because nobody likes to eat the same thing day after day, I try to be as creative as possible, both with the salad ingredients that I throw together and the salad dressing.
Speaking of salad dressing, have you ever looked at your salad dressing label? Even the reasonably “healthy” bottled versions are loaded with salt, sugars, preservatives, and fillers (click on the picture if you can’t see the ingredients).
Why do that to yourself when salad dressing is so easy to make? There are thousands of options available just at the click of your mouse. Plus, I have quite a few on this blog, including the creamy Avocado Vinaigrette that I used for this salad. It has seven ingredients (three of them are seasoning), no added sugar, and it takes less than five minutes to make. What are you waiting for?
This salad has three vegan protein sources: quinoa, garbanzo beans, and edamame. The spinach, kale, and chard mixed greens is full of vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus iron, folic acid, zinc, potassium, and calcium. The grapes add just a touch of sweetness, not to mention provide antioxidents along with vitamins A, C, and B6. Tomatoes contain lycopene, plus a variety of vitamins and minerals. And of course, the avocado is loaded with vitamins, potassium, and healthy fats.
Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Vinaigrette
- 1 bag Greens (I used Trader Joes Power to the Greens with spinach, kale, and chard)
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup edamame, cooked
- ½ cup grapes, halved
- ½ cup grape tomatoes
- ½ cup green onion, chopped
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 avocado
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon tarragon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Combine the greens, beans, edamame, grapes, tomatoes, and green onion. Toss together and serve atop ½ cup quinoa. Drizzle with Avocado Vinaigrette
- Avocado Vinaigrette
- In a food processor, combine avocado, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil and seasonings. Process until smooth and creamy.
What are your favorite salad ingredients?
Oh! Before I forget! A few of you have asked about Coco and her integration into the pack. She’s doing very well, she seems to be relaxing around the rest of the dogs. Here she is posing on my yoga mat. I call this Doggy Savasana.