by Jennifer Anne Garcia
I waste so much time in the salad dressing aisle. Reading labels. Putting bottles back on the shelf. Crying tears of frustration. Why the *@#! is there high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and soybean oil in all of these dressings?? And why do the “healthy” ones cost $6-8? (some of which still have cane sugar!)
Again tears of frustration. I only turn to store-bought salad dressing because sometimes salads are boring. And when safety is a concern (ahem, looking at you Romaine Lettuce) it’s so overwhelming. Skipping the salad altogether is tempting. But eating greens feels good for my body so I’ve finally learned, like the old adage says, if you want salad dressing made right, make it yourself…or come up with other creative ways to make it right! LOL
Here are a few fun ways, I’ve learned to reinvigorate my own salads. You can still have all that leafy, green goodness, plus a lot more flavor to look forward to.
- Try new varieties for the base ingredient. Did you know there are more than 17 different kinds of lettuce? Various types of lettuce can make a salad even tastier. For milder flavors try Butter leaf and Red leaf or if you enjoy a little spice to your bite, try the more bitter endives or arugula. Still bored? Try adding other leafy greens like spinach and kale.
- Living lettuce is a thing. Go local and organic when you can. It can be fun to see the root and dirt still on your lettuce. Try your local farmer’s market for living lettuce that lasts longer and could even grow back if you take proper care of it. This fresh, delicious lettuce is sold with the roots attached and lasts for up to 14 days.
- Use mason jars or glass containers. Instead of plastic tupperware to store and transport your salad, go green with glass. It’s prettier and better for your body and the environment.
- Dress it up (without dressing!) Garnish your fresh salad with pepitas, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, or even garlic powder. Added flavor and health benefits without worry, these ingredients are all clean.
- Add herbs, sprouts, and spices. Chop up some fresh cilantro and add it to your salad for an extra kick. Spice up the salad with salt, pepper, or Italian seasoning. Bean sprouts are fun and add a lot of flavor. Micro-greens are also really popular now and can add extra nutrients to your salad!
- Make your own salad dressing. Simply squeeze fresh lemon juice and 1 tbsp of avocado oil onto your salad. You’ll know it’s clean and freshly made. I recently discovered the magic of making my own honey mustard. Are you ready? Honey + Mustard = Honey Mustard. No added oils or unnecessary sugars. It’s that simple. I felt silly for not thinking to do that sooner, but now that I know it’s a fun way to add a little sweetness and variety to an otherwise boring salad. For those who enjoy more savory dressings, here’s an excellent vegan Avocado Lime Ranch recipe. It comes out creamy and delicious. Plus it’s been husband-approved.
- Again with the 4 Ps. If I’ve learned anything from The 30 Clean, it’s that making time to Plan, Purchase, Prepare, and Put Away makes life infinitely easier. Making salads from scratch is only a chore if you have no idea where to start. The secret? Just START. Rinse and chop your lettuce the day you bring it home from the market. Keep it fresh in your glass container with a paper towel or cheesecloth. If you buy the pre-washed mixed greens or spinach, stick a paper towel or piece of cheesecloth in before closing the lid and store the container upside down. The greens will keep much longer.
- Taste the rainbow. There’s a reason why Rainbow Week is a fan-favorite during The 30 Clean Challenges–it’s fun and flavorful! Add colorful veggies to make your salads taste better. It can be easy to chop up some purple cabbage at the beginning of the week and store in a container in the veggie drawer. Carrots, tomatoes, green, red, and yellow bell peppers, etc. are all fun additions to make a salad look (and taste) more appealing.
Eating healthy salad greens every day is possible and it can be fun! No more crying in the salad dressing aisle for me.
If you still aren’t convinced that making your own homemade dressing is the way to go, and you’re prepared to spend a little extra at the grocery store, there are a few conscious brands I can recommend: Braggs, Tessemae’s, and my favorite, Primal Kitchen.
The universe must have heard my recent cries from the dressing aisle, because last time I went shopping there was a coupon! My tears of frustration turned into tears of joy when I saw the yellow tag hanging on the shelf. “Buy Primal Kitchen Mayo, get a salad dressing free.”
I’ve never been so excited to buy condiments in my entire life! Not to mention, I love their Avocado Oil Mayo to make clean deviled eggs and turkey and spinach roll-ups.
So, the next time my salad needs a pick-me-up, I’m covered. If your local store doesn’t have a coupon, it’s okay. The 30 Clean has you covered too with this special code for Primal Kitchen (their chipotle mayo is to die for)! Use code GROK15 for 15% off any of their products.