1. Dark leafy greens. Which: ANY, although my favorites are Chard, Kale and Beet tops. The Chard and beet leaves are higher in antioxidants, the kale is super cleansing and detoxifying. Beet tops and baby chard is super tender and not overly crunchy. Super high in vitamin K and A, naturally anti-inflammatory and high in magnesium.
2. Sprouts (Broccoli sprouts are my personal favorite) but there are so many delicious sprouts and shoots (pea shoots are delicious too), I enjoy sprouts because they are crunchy, taste great and are easily digested. they also are nutrient dense!
3. Radishes. Why? Because they are amazing, you can put radishes on any salad and it compliments it, they are also filling, crispy crunchy and hydrating (great summer salad addition) have you ever thrown radishes on a fish taco? You haven’t had a fish taco until you try that! But staying on the subject of salads, they don’t have a ton of over powering flavor so they pretty much can go with any mixture of fruit or vegetables in a salad (versatility at its best) when eating radishes, here are some of the health benefits: Super high is water content so you are going to keep yourself nice and hydrated with this vegetable, High in antioxidants and have cancer fighting abilities (especially of the digestive tract), and they are high in fiber. Eat up!
4. Cucumber. Why? Well firstly, they are delicious but if you aren’t partial to cucumber let me tell you a secret, I used to hate them. Another vegetable that is super hydrating and cucumber is alkaline, it’s created a more alkaline state in the body and everyone needs that to fight disease. cucumbers are crunchy and fresh tasting. The fact that they are so alkaline makes them a great disease preventive vegetable, so eat up and throw in your smoothies as well.
5. Pumpkin Seeds. Why? Pumpkin seeds have tryptophan, it’s a mood booster! They are high in protein and healthy fats, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and copper; high mineral support. I like to get the sprouted raw pumpkin seeds by “Go Raw, Real live food” they are delicious and give your salad that nutty flavor.
6. Hummus. Why? I have grown accustomed to using hummus as a salad dressing recently. I make my own white bean or chickpea hummus at home weekly and my husband and I eat it as a regular part of our diet. I add things like a dash of olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and sesame tahini (you can buy a great pre-made tahini in the refrigerated section of trader joes) to make the hummus and we even put tasty spins on it like the recently created “Cilantro Pesto Hummus” pictures in the salad above. Get creative with it, it’s a delicious and whole food alternative to salad dressings (which usually contain a lot of fat and sugar). You will find that once hummus is mixed in with your salad, you Won’t crave any dressing, the flavor is amazing.
7. Quinoa. Why? Protein. Whole grain goodness. Red, black or white quinoa are all great options for salads (although the red quinoa is the most beautiful in a salad). Quinoa is not a heavy starchier carb like brown rice, its related to vegetables like Swiss chard and has a higher protein content than brown rice. High in mineral content, low-fat, (higher in good fat), high protein, high fiber and delicious. Not only can quinoa be eaten in salads its so versatile that you can make countless sweet or savory dishes using this food. Eat up.
8. Avocado. Why? Do I need to explain? Its like natures butter. Smooth, creamy, versatile, takes on the flavor of any dish, gives a creaminess to salads provides the good fat that you need (great brain food) and high in B vitamins and fiber. OK that’s enough, how can these things taste so good?
9. Asparagus. Why? Because they are amazing. Cook asparagus for just a few minutes them place in ice water before putting into your salad – they taste best if they are still a little crisp. Health benefits: Anti-inflammatory, high in Vitamin K, detoxifying, and great for digestive health.
10. Zucchini. Why? Its good and filling. Zucchini Squash is delicious in salads whether raw or grilled or pan seared. High nutrient food! Health benefits: Magnesium, fiber and B vitamin Folate.
I must admit this was hard to write because I love so many vegetables in my salad, they key is to change it up often and eat a delicious rainbow of color everyday. What are your favorite salad ingredients? Id love to get even more ides from you!