Salads: how do you make them tasty and exciting??

By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2012-01-31 22:59:59 -0600
Started 2012-01-16 00:19:03 -0600

Salads are "good" for us, but I find them really boring. What do you do to make your salads interesting and tasty? What kind of greens do you use? Protien? Veggies? Dressings?

What do you do to make them GOOD as well as good for you???????

109 replies

stemplin 2012-01-22 18:08:50 -0600 Report

My husband loves to get different type of greens …spinach and green leaf lettuce and others …with bacon, or some type of meat, shreded cheddar cheese, onion green pepper and red pepper, and we put the almonds slices on it or sunflower seeds w/ low fat dressing …VERY good he will have that twice a day …

Caroltoo 2012-01-22 20:57:37 -0600 Report

I'm glad to hear he likes it that much … makes it much easier to put it on the menu. I like the meat salads better also and just the way you framed it … some type of meat. My aversion to greens and veggie salad is odd when I really think about it because I use lots of all these veggies they are all talking about, but I use them in all of my stews, stir fry, and one-pot meals. Thanks for sharing.

2012-01-21 17:52:27 -0600 Report

Well since that's all I eat, (complete non fruit eating vegan) here's what I do: I mix, some iceberg, hearts of romaine, & spring mix. (reason for iceberg, cause it's crunchy) tomatoes, bell peppers, hot chilli peppers, bean sprouts, red grapes, (only if my BG readings are behaving), and a small handful of either sunflower seeds, or slivered almonds. Tossed with a lite salad dressing. (Newman's Own makes some really good lite dressings. No, I don't work for the company.) I sometimes add some bean sprouts if I have them on hand. Never croutons. Too many carbs. And that is how I prepare a tossed salad.

Caroltoo 2012-01-21 18:31:29 -0600 Report

I wouldn't have thought to mix in the hot chilli peppers. Love um, though, so will have to give it a try. Yes, Newman's Own has some good dressings.

squog master
squog master 2012-01-20 23:09:51 -0600 Report

I like good old Ice Berg lettuce. Then some other veggies. I like carrots, celery, red peppers. Sometimes raw Broc or Cauli. I make my own dressings using light sour cream & FF milk w/ ranch seasoning or light SC FF milk a little mayo(Hellmann's made w/ canola oil) & catsup for Russian. I also make an onion dressing starting again with the light SC & FF Milk & and dried chopped onions to that.

Then I'll throw whatever cooked protein I have handy on top, Chicken, shrimp, egg whites, cheese, ham etc.

One of the reasons I make my own dressings is that I'm allergic to soy & soybean oil is the primary ingredient in most dressings. That's why I use Hellmann's mayo made w/canola oil. Cause soybean oil is the main ingredient in most mayos too. So glad Hellmann's started making this.

2012-01-22 13:48:55 -0600 Report

Hellmanns/Best Foods also makes a really good low fat mayo. A jar usually lasts me close to a year. Low in cals but high in colest. (15cals a Tbsp.)

squog master
squog master 2012-01-22 15:34:19 -0600 Report

Yes, I used that before I started w/the soy allergy. I use mayo sparingly so mine lasts pretty long also. Only time there is a lot at one time is if I make some Macaroni or potato salad. And that's only once in a while.

Caroltoo 2012-01-20 23:32:18 -0600 Report

Thanks for the information on how to make our own salad dressings. I liked iceberg until I got to Hawaii and discovered Manoa lettuce named for UH, Manoa. Then I became a convert to Manoa, now I usually use Romaine.

I agree: has to have a protein in it for me to make it a lunch.

MillyJo 2012-01-20 00:25:05 -0600 Report

I used to dislike salads, then realized I just disliked iceberg lettuce-it was quite bitter. I started making salads without lettuce. Like Lydickk, I used whatever was in the fridge, all raw: cauliflower, asperagus, broccoli, tomatoes, celery, avocado, snow peas, onions, radishes, artichoke hearts, jicama, green chili peppers,carrots, other veggies. I then just squeezed either some lemon juice or lime juice over it and tossed. Later, I found that if I didn't add the juices, I could actually taste the individual veggies. Each bite was different. Now, I never use any salad dressings. They tend to make everything taste the same! I do add some fresh fruit occasionally. I have also found that I like romaine lettuce. It has a sweetness to it. I add some shredded romaine to the salad now, along with a few canned peas. I make a large bowl of the veggies and eat it over several days. Without the salad dresssing, it remains fresh for several days in the fridge.

Caroltoo 2012-01-20 23:34:57 -0600 Report

Hum…I seem to be missing my kitchen sink…has it gone your way, perhaps! LOL, and just joking, of course. Yes, you have lots of variety there and that makes it more interesting.

I think of the simple salads I make, my preference is tomato, avocado, and artichoke hearts on romaine.

Lydickk 2012-01-19 20:00:14 -0600 Report

Look in the fridge . . . then start pulling everything out and adding it to the salad mix: caulaflaur canned beats, spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers (red, yellow, and green), green beans, asian lettuces, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash. Don't forget to add diced apple, bananas, grapes, and other fruits. Toss in some oil and vinegar and spices (I tend to focus on prepackaged italian herbs since they are easy.) Then toss in whatever fish, cheese, or nuts are around for protein. I just add whatever is handy and pick up whatever is available when I hit the grocery store. My challenge is the dressing since so much of what is out there contains either gluten or rapeseed (canola) oil that I am allergic to.

'Second Chance'
'Second Chance' 2012-01-20 23:51:05 -0600 Report

Hi Lydickk, how are you, I like the way you make salads!!! Very tasty, I bet. I been eating salads lately, I decided I didn't want to eat heavy all the time, since I made that decision, I've lost 4 pounds, boy do I feel lighter!! Keep up the good work with your salads, very healthy!!!

Caroltoo 2012-01-21 00:19:46 -0600 Report


Caroltoo 2012-01-21 13:16:51 -0600 Report

Good to hear from you, too. We must have been on different discussions for the last few days. All is well.

'Second Chance'
'Second Chance' 2012-01-21 13:33:09 -0600 Report

Probably so, I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. That's why I love DC, you can always , soon or later, find your friends, what a blessing!!!

Young1s 2012-01-19 20:46:52 -0600 Report

Now that's an interesting notion. Nothing fancy and no extrenuous planning, just whatever is in the fridge at the moment. Hmmm. I think I'll have to try this.

GabbyPA 2012-01-19 10:37:21 -0600 Report

Check out some of our recipes. There are some really good salads here. One of my favorites is the Mediterranean one

But there are a host of great ideas here.
It kind of makes them a meal

What I have been enjoying of late is a garden of greens. I have swiss chard, collards, oak leaf lettuce, mustard, fennel, spinach, leaf lettuce and parsley all growing. I go out, pick a bunch of each and make a great salad. I also grow radishes and carrots to put in them and you can add some green pea leaves as well. I just mix some tuna with some mayo and put it on top instead of dressing and I am good to go.

2012-01-21 17:56:57 -0600 Report

That sounds mighty tasty Gabby. How does it taste w/o the tuna? I'm a vegan. Is low-cal or diet dressing okay? God I'm getting hungry!!

GabbyPA 2012-01-22 10:12:17 -0600 Report

I will often add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Maybe toss in a 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds. If I don't do the tuna, I will add a dressing. I have a home made creamy lime dressing that is great.

I applaud you for being vegan. I tried, but just struggled too much with keeping everything raw. I know it is a good way to go. How do you do it? Do you have family who is not vegan? That is my struggle. If I cook a meal for them, it's hard not to want to eat it too.

2012-01-22 13:37:21 -0600 Report

I'm the only one in my family who's vegan. It started when I was a senior in high school. I got really sick from eating any type of meat product, and I never did like anything from the dairy group. So it was really easy for me to become a vegan. Although way back then, there really wasn't a word for it. Except a vegetarian who doesn't eat diary. I'm a vegan who doesn't do raw. It's to much a pain in the tushie. Too many special "cooking" utensils that you have to purchase. I'm not into that. It's a whole lot easier to cook vegie stir fry & salads. Believe me Gabby, my fiance is a vegetarian. So if he want eggs for a meal, he cooks it. I can't stand the way the house smells when he's done. PU!!

Caroltoo 2012-01-19 12:18:39 -0600 Report

Thanks, Gabby. I use lots of greens and fresh veggies in my cooking. Maybe I ought to just accept I don't really get excited about a bowl of lettuce plus goodies and just use them in other ways.

Hey, read a new recipe for cactus salad this morning when exploring a native american site. I'll post it and the connection in a few minutes … so you can all explore if you want. It's NOT a diabetic site, but the cactus interested me because of the conversations some of us have had with Kat and Gabby about Nopal.

GabbyPA 2012-01-20 20:36:52 -0600 Report

That would be great. I have not gotten a jar yet, and I hope to get one when I do my monthly shopping in February...gotta get it on my list.

Caroltoo 2012-01-21 00:21:12 -0600 Report

I did post the recipe on a discussion page…so far, it's about the least visited discussion on the page "0". I'll bet you, Kat, and I may be the only ones who will look at Cactus Salad!

Young1s 2012-01-21 07:56:49 -0600 Report

I was tracking the nopal discussion for a while but stopped when I decided I probably wasn't going to make it anytime soon. I know where to look if ever I change my mind though. Good luck with it ladies.

berrykins0 2012-01-18 07:50:06 -0600 Report

i use sugarfree and calorie free dressing called waldens farms this product is located usally in orangic area. i use olives spices tomatoes cucumbers cheeses croutons peppers red onion tuna chicken bacon torilla strips these are usally by the croutons these are different things i use not all at one time of coursei started this idea right way when i found out i was diabetic i have a salad for lunch and dinner every day i buy pre cut lettuce that has cabage and carrots in it i buy a 3lb bag precut at sams club thats cheapest i can get it.

Caroltoo 2012-01-18 12:59:06 -0600 Report

Walden Farms does make some tasty ones, for sure!

Sounds like you have the "salad thing" down to a science if you have one for lunch and dinner every day. I buy the stuff, then frequntly don't use it. Feels wasteful, which I don't like, but I'm just not motivated to eat it. Puzzles me since I'm so disciplined about everything else. Oh, well, maybe this is my "spot" of rebellion.

Young1s 2012-01-19 12:47:11 -0600 Report

I used to do the same thing. Which is why I stopped buying the big bag of prepackaged salad. Now I buy the smaller ones which seem to go easier. I know that buying the ingredients and making the salad myself is cheaper but I just haven't been inspired enough to go through the trouble. So the bag works for now.

Caroltoo 2012-01-19 13:10:20 -0600 Report

Me too. I now purchase 1 head of romaine, my current favorite, and try to get it eaten before it's too old. I always have tomatoes, carrots, peppers, squash, onions, and those things around, so adding to it is no issue for me.

Jan8 2012-01-17 16:20:12 -0600 Report

Fresh spinach,or a combo mix with spring mix,walnuts,blueberries,strawberries,Apple pieces,extra virgin olive oil,and balsamic vinegar. sometimes add black olives.

Caroltoo 2012-01-17 18:24:32 -0600 Report

How 'bout olives on the side, then we'll keep Al happy too!

jigsaw 2012-01-18 07:13:57 -0600 Report

No olives, and we can definitely be friends !

Caroltoo 2012-01-22 14:07:58 -0600 Report

Yes, I read recently to use olive oil, but skip the olives. Is it part of the processing perhaps?

2012-01-22 14:15:49 -0600 Report

I heard a while back that Xtra virgin olive oil or even just virgin olive oil is better 4U than canola.

2012-01-23 18:40:36 -0600 Report

Same here Carol2. It's actually the only oil in my pantry. Either xtra virgin, or virgin. No vegie oil or canola. (or any other type of oil.)

Caroltoo 2012-01-23 19:16:11 -0600 Report

Actually mine too. Now, I use sesame oil for my facial cleanser and bath oil; I used to cook with it.

jigsaw 2012-01-17 17:08:02 -0600 Report

Eliminate the black olives and I would feast on such a meal ! Has all my favorite fruit, and nuts wellllll don't even mention them. I have to use amazing will power to just eat a few. Really does sound like a delicious salad.

Jan8 2012-01-18 05:04:00 -0600 Report

hey,jigsaw I forgot to mention that my endo.also told me to have any kind of Dannon Greek yogut after eating that salad. I thought YUK but after I whipped it to a yummy thickness it was great.Usually ,I hate yougurt but now I love this.

jigsaw 2012-01-18 07:04:52 -0600 Report

Funny thing, I was in Cosco's and they were handing out free samples of Greek yogurt. I have been eating it ever since ! It's very good !!

2012-01-22 13:57:16 -0600 Report

They were handing out the same thing @ my Costco. What they sample the same thing @ every Costco?

Jan8 2012-01-18 07:24:25 -0600 Report

and It's very good for you. The Cleveland Clinic was doing a reasearch study on diabetes type 1 and recommended 2 Greek yogurts per day to the participants.

jigsaw 2012-01-17 07:34:47 -0600 Report

Fresh spinach, red onion, walnuts, sundried tomato pieces, and coriander can be used to garnish. Heat the walnuts for 30 seconds in a bit of oil, then toss the veges into the wok until the spinach just begins to wilt and wallah ! You have one tasty salad !

2012-01-22 13:59:11 -0600 Report

Don't do walnuts. But boy jigsaw, sounds really YUMMY!! Say could I do raw cashews?

judy makowski
judy makowski 2012-01-17 05:57:55 -0600 Report

I love salad but one I especially like uses fresh spinach, red onions and an orange. The is topped with a tbl. of vinegar, a tsp of olive oil, some minced garlic, salt and pepper. I count the orange as one of my fruits and the nec. carbs

jigsaw 2012-01-17 07:26:23 -0600 Report

Healthy and delicious! You could try this salad with grilled chicken sautayed in teriyaki sauce! Very similar to a salad that I make.

judy makowski
judy makowski 2012-01-17 07:39:15 -0600 Report

Good idea. I also use romaine, green leaf lettuce, hard boiled egg, bit of cheese, cucumber, peppers ham, beefe. Haven't done fish byt I can't picture it myself. Red and green cabbage, celery, bok coy etc. It's all good. I do stay away from head lettuce beacause it has no vitamin content and is all water.

Caroltoo 2012-01-17 14:15:50 -0600 Report

Sounds like a good plan…love walnuts in EVOO, so especially like that addition. You two make a good planning team.

jigsaw 2012-01-17 17:14:35 -0600 Report

At first I thought EVOO was some sort of antelope that runs around in Hawaii ! Actually I know you meant extra virgin olive oil. Besides, I don't think you eat meat.

Caroltoo 2012-01-20 01:03:28 -0600 Report

Hawaii has boar and deer, no antelope that I know of. If I had to catch and kill my own, I would probably revise this statement, but I am very much a meat eater. EVOO was a discovery of mine in someone's post a couple of days ago. Had to think it out in context, which it appears you did also, then decided to spring it on the rest of you for a learning experience.

pixsidust 2012-01-16 20:50:45 -0600 Report

green olives sliced up, a dusting of olive oil along with a tiny drizzle of a lemon slice, green and red onions, put on a bed of romaine and spinach. You can add tomato, green red or yellow peppers. Topped with Greek balsamic vinegar. The secret is the olives and onions and they do have to be green olives.

Caroltoo 2012-01-16 20:58:36 -0600 Report

Kalamata? Love the idea of Greek balsamic vinegar! Do you ever use feta?

pixsidust 2012-01-16 21:18:49 -0600 Report

yes but you do not have too. That dressing with the olives and onions makes any salad combo great! Parmesian, feta, romano cheeses are all good

Caroltoo 2012-01-16 21:23:09 -0600 Report

The onions are a good point, Christy. I love the Greek salad in my local Greek restaurant, but never really focused on what made it that differnt beside the feta and kalamata and having that wonderful pita bread that I will now have to cut way back on. Their moussaka is wonderful.

pixsidust 2012-01-17 14:52:56 -0600 Report

I use both green onions and the other onion can be any kind white, yellow or red. Look for salad olives that are cheaper. They are not pretty and whole

ShellyLargent 2012-01-16 17:58:04 -0600 Report

I've been making two different kinds of "green" salads here lately. First I take baby spinach, mix spring or baby lettuce leaves, 1 tart green apple (slice then dice), 2 slices of provolone cheese, diced, a scant handful of dried cranberries and a scant handful of candied nuts like walnuts, almonds or pecans. Drizzle with a light or sugar-free raspberry dressing. Very tasty. Second is a play on the Italian sub sandwich. I got the recipe from my Food Network Mag. It's just easier to post the recipe link. I leave out the bread cubes and I used a light Italian dressing instead of making the one suggested. Also very tasty. Both salads are packed with flavor and are very satisifying.

Caroltoo 2012-01-16 18:36:06 -0600 Report

Thanks, Shelly, for sharing these. I do so enjoy nuts and Italian, not necessarily together though I'm sure I'll get some remarks about that duo!

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