Any way you spin them, salads are a refreshing and satisfying way to pack more veggies into your diet. If you’d like a fun way to challenge yourself and your family to eat more salad, the last week in July is national salad week. Consider some of these benefits of eating salad regularly – and convert those salad non-believers in your life.
- Salads are versatile and can be made in hundreds of different ways to satisfy any taste.
- Leafy greens, vegetables and fruits are among the healthiest foods in the world.
- Diets rich in fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
- Some salad ingredients, such as peas, black beans, broccoli, avocados, spinach and apples contain high amounts of fiber. Diets high in fiber can lower cholesterol and promote a healthy heart.
- Packing a salad for your lunch at work or school saves money.
- Salads generally have fewer calories than other meal options – provided they aren’t drenched in caloric dressing and toppings.
- Salads are portable. Consider using a Mason jar or Tupperware container with built in dressing container.
- Making your own salad dressing saves money and unnecessary consumption of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
If you’re feeling inventive, you can put your chef hat on and create your own seasonal salads and salad dressings based on the charts below from the College of Public Health and Human Science’s Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health . The center’s endowed director, Emily Ho, says that when creating or using a store-bought salad dressing it’s important is to watch the amount of fat and/or oil you add.
“Just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’s always healthy,” Emily says. “You still need to watch the portions, especially for the add-ons. Having a high amount of vegetables is good, but not if you drown your salad in mayo or dressing. If you add bacon or crispy chicken, the salad will have a high fat and calorie content. Many salads from restaurants, such as a Cobb salad, can have over 1,000 calories in them.”
Below, you’ll find some tasty creations that are sure to leave your palette hungry for more greens. There is a bounty of resources available to help build variety into your salads, including tested and approved recipes from Food Hero. You can also see tips for growing your own salad greens in Oregon.
Happy salad eating!
Beaver Nation Broccoli Salad
Winning recipe from 2014 GridIron Chef Contest
½ cup nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt, plain
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 cups broccoli florets, bite-sized
½ cup red onion, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
⅓ cup toasted sunflower seeds, salted
In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the broccoli florets, red onion, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and feta cheese. Add the dressing and stir to combine. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve immediately or make ahead up to 24 hours.
Cooper’s Creek Harvest Salad
Recipe by Chef Jay Perry, University Housing and Dining Services
3 oz fresh baby spinach
1 oz mix green salad
2 oz grilled kale (lacinato preferred)
½ cup roasted beets, cut into ½” chunks
½ cup sliced apples
2 Tbsp. chopped dry roasted hazelnuts
½ cup sliced delicata squash, seeded and cleaned
1 oz champagne vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)
Oil for roasting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and roast the beets on a lined baking sheet for 30-40 minutes (depending on size). Peel skin and cut into chunks. Roast squash with skin on for 20 minutes. Cut into rings and toss with oil. Squeeze dressing into mixing bowl. Add greens, beets, hazelnuts (reserve a few) and ¼ cup apples and toss. Place mixture onto plate and add remaining of apples and top with squash rings.
Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing
2 oz champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 oz canola oil
1 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 Tbsp. sugar
Combine all ingredients except for oil and place in blender. Make sure to fully blend. Turn blender to low and slowly add the oil until all gone.
Fiesta Barley Salad
1 cup dry barley
3 cups water
¼ cup raisins, or other dried fruit
1 cup frozen peas, or other vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned and drained)
3 cups lettuce, washed and chopped
1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup green onions (or any onions), sliced thin
1 Tbsp. vinegar (rice or other)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Combine barely and water in a 2-3 quart saucepan. Bring to boil, then turn to low. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Rinse cooked barely briefly in cold water and drain. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.