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How to Make the Perfect Salad

Image of a salad with the title "How to make the perfect salad"

When you think of a salad, what’s usually the first thing that comes to mind?

Is it just a plain bed of lettuce with a few carrots and some dressing? Something that looks sad and not very filling?

Salads don’t have to be that way! I think most of us can agree that eating healthy is preferable, but can be hard due to lack of time or knowledge. Even if you work full-time, you can still throw together an awesome salad with limited time!

I’ll give you a resource at the bottom of the post to help with the time factor. But here are some tips on how to create the perfect salad, step-by-step:

Image of a bowl of romaine lettuce

Start with greens

Lettuce is the standard base for any salad. You have iceberg, romaine, spinach, kale… use one, or a combination of all. I like tearing up some baby spinach leaves and adding them to my romaine.

Image of a bowl of salad vegetables

Add some veggies

This one is where I’m not totally creative (Because I’m usually the only one that eats all these vegetables), but you can choose from so many different veggie varieties. In the picture above, I used tomatoes, bell peppers, and shredded carrots. But you can use more or less of any of the following and then some:

  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Broccoli
  • Radish
Image of a bowl of salad vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and deli ham

Don’t forget the protein

I think this is where a lot of people go wrong. In their mind, salads are nothing but vegetables, and that just leaves them sad and hungry.

If I’m going to eat a salad, it’s going to be an entree-sized salad, and it will have at least one or two forms of protein.

In the above picture, I used two hard-boiled eggs and some chopped-up deli turkey to make a sort of chef salad. Here are some other protein ideas:

  • Ham (Spiral or deli)
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans/black beans
  • Bacon
  • Ground beef (Especially if it’s taco meat!)
Image of a bowl full of salad

Sprinkle some healthy fats

Salads are amazing and healthy; but if you don’t have any kind of fat on it, you’re going to be hungry soon after. Even if your bowl is filled to the brim with veggies.

Honestly, this is where I struggle because in the moment, I can never think of a good fat to add. But here are some ideas:

  • Seeds (Sunflower, pumpkin)
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Cheese (My favorite and most obvious)

(Optional) Add some crunch

I think salad is more fun with a crunchy carb! Although I didn’t add any to this salad, here are some things you could add:

  • Croutons
  • Tortilla chips
  • Fritos (I’ve seen a blogger swear by this one!)
Image of a bowl full of salad

Use your favorite dressing

So, I’m not going to tell you to use an oil-based dressing when all you really want is ranch. I’m all about the Hidden Valley!

You have plenty of options, though. Dressings don’t have to all be high-calorie! Here are ones I’ve used:

  • Yogurt-based dressings like Bolthouse Farms (35-45 calories per 2 tablespoons)
  • Italian/balsamic vinaigrette
  • Salsa (Especially good when you mix it with plain Greek yogurt)

Honestly though, if you use a lot of flavorful ingredients like pickles, you can either use less dressing, or none at all. I like my dressing, but it is possible to eat a salad without it!

I hope I’ve inspired you to make non-boring salads! They don’t need to be small, or plain, or nothing but veggies. You can eat a salad every day and not get bored if you mix-and-match ingredients!

Image of a stovetop covered in food containers of chopped vegetables

And if you’re overwhelmed thinking “There’s no way I can do all this at home. I have no time!”, I can help! Make sure to read my post on How to Meal Prep in One Hour, because this is how I can chop my veggies and prepare most food items for the week.

What do you like to put on your salad? Share in the comments below!


Sunday 1st of December 2019

Your salad looks great. I love salads and want to eat one most days for lunch but I’m to lazy to cut up the veggies. Also I am hungry if no protein is added.


Monday 2nd of December 2019

Thank you, Morgan! I totally feel you on the lazy part. I find that if I take an hour on Sunday afternoons to chop the veggies, all the hard work is done and all I have to do is assemble the salad!


Friday 20th of September 2019

French fried onions are also great for a crunchy option!


Friday 20th of September 2019

Ooh yes, great idea!

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