Once upon a time, vegetarian salads were described as just lettuce and tomatoes, with some commenting ‘who orders that?’ But thanks to a few chefs and other food enthusiasts, vegetarian salads started to probe both our appetite and imagination, with veggies going from being a supporting act to the main event. Ricotta, Mushrooms, feta sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley, tarragon and garlic – these ingredients can be used to make a number of stellar dishes. You can also dress them up real nice. Yogurt-based dressings, balsamic vinegar, cold-pressed oils, cherry vinegar , herbs and warm spices: you can literally pick anything under the sun.Before we get to some of the smashing vegetarian salad recipes we were talking about, we’ve got a few exciting tips for you that’ll help you build an all-rounder salad that’s not just a 10 on 10 in terms of taste, but brimming with all kinds of essential nutrients and minerals.
1. Go Green – Build a strong foundation before you get to the finer details. So pick lettuce, beans, broccoli and other greens as they’ll fare as the most important and healthiest part of your salad. Why go green? Because green foods are a great source of phytonutrients. They help you regulate blood sugar during the day and are packed with fiber and water.
2. Time for Fiber – Lentils and legumes,flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are all rich in fiber and work well in salads. High fiber foods take longer to digest so they keep you full for longer. Fiber also helps with weight-loss and maintains smooth function of the gastric system.
3. Eat More Protein – You can get protein in your diet without having to chow down chicken or fish. Quinoa, buckwheat soy/tofu cottage cheese : these are all some great options that go well in a salad and in fact compliment all the other seasonal produce you plan to use. Protein helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and lowers blood pressure.
4. A Handful of Nuts – Nuts lend a great texture to salads. Try almonds, walnuts, pistachio, pine nuts and pecans: all of them work well. Nuts are also a powerhouse of energy, full of natural fibre, proteins, minerals and even unsaturated fats.
5. What’s in Season? Pick the best of what’s in season for it will be fresh and flavorful. It’ll also be lighter on your budget. This means that pick up bright bell peppers, pumpkins, zucchini,mangoes, melons in the summers and cauliflower, peas and the like in the winter.