(BPT) - Nothing says 'summer is here' like a fresh salad bursting with garden-fresh vegetables, herbs and flavors. So how do you toss some zing into your salad to get your family and friends craving more? Follow these five simple steps to create eye-popping, mouth-watering and crowd-pleasing bowls of healthy and delicious salads.
Many shades of green
Darker veggies create a healthier the salad, so skip the iceberg and try some new greens with your next salad. Use spinach to provide nearly twice the recommended daily value of vitamin K, half the recommended value of vitamin A, as well as calcium and iron. A cup of romaine is a tasty alternative, with a huge dose of vitamin A and a variety of other nutrients. Arugula also offers a blend of nutrients and phytochemicals.
Think protein for power
Want a great way to add lean and cost-effective protein into your bowl? Or to sneak some delicious protein into a salad that will have your kids asking for seconds? Try tossing in a cup of boneless chicken. Get an extra boost by adding nuts, seeds or beans - a cup of black beans provides 15 grams of protein to a salad and you'll gain soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol, keeps blood sugar balanced and fills you up. Add some omega-3s to your bowl too, with salmon, sliced avocadoes or hemp seeds.
Top smart, toss smart
Cranberries, blue cheese, diced avocadoes, croutons, slivered almonds and olives can turn the ordinary salad into an extraordinary creation. Don't forget that salad dressings add flavor and pizazz - try new Litehouse OPA Greek Yogurt dressing for lower calories, more protein and great taste. Spring salads burst with juicy goodness when you add fruit to the bowl. Slice fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, papaya, mango or apples for a juicy upgrade to any salad.
The road to good health is paved with veggies
Adding vegetables does more than pack amazing color into your salad bowl; you are also packing your family with stellar nutrients. Flavorful vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber that keeps your digestive tract healthy. For crunchier salads shred or thinly slice cabbage, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower.
With all the wonderful veggies and fruits, don't forget to bring out the flavor of your creation with herbs. For a delicious way to add herbs to your salad without having to buy fresh herbs that will go bad before you can use them up, try Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse that spring to life when rehydrated for a fresh-from-the-garden taste without the waste.
Ready to jump into salad season? Try this recipe that bursts with color and taste:
Confetti fruit and veggie lettuce wraps with Litehouse Pomegranate Blueberry Vinaigrette
Finished in: 20 minutes
1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumber
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup diced papaya
1/2 cup diced mango
1 15-ounces can dried black beans - drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 tablespoon jalapeno
2 heads washed and dried baby romaine lettuce leaves
2 ounces feta cheese crumbles
1 ounce snow pea shoots
4 ounce Litehouse Food's Pomegranate Blueberry Vinaigrette (extra for dipping)
In large bowl, toss together cucumber, carrots, red onion, strawberries, pineapple, papaya, mango, black beans, cilantro, jalapeno and spring onions.
Stir in pomegranate blueberry vinaigrette and allow mixture to sit for five minutes so herbs rehydrate.
Add a spoonful of fruit and vegetable mixture to the center of lettuce leaf. Repeat for remaining leaves and mixture.
Sprinkle feta cheese on top of mixture and garnish with snow pea shoots.
Serve with additional pomegranate blueberry vinaigrette for dipping.
This fruit and veggie mixture also makes a great topping on pork, chicken and mild fish.