The key to a delicious salad is by including ingredients you love. You can take almost any combination of vegetables and make something amazing that’s definitely not boring. By following these vague but hopefully helpful guidelines you can create a salad that’s also nutritionally balanced, with all the main macronutrients and a variety of micronutrients too.
Although vegan diets can absolutely be very healthy, it’s important to note the one nutrient you can’t get is vitamin B12, so if you are vegan please remember to supplement! Other than that, you should be able to get everything you need from the huge variety of plants on offer for your consumption.
A source of protein
There’s a common myth that it’s really difficult to get enough protein on a vegan diet, but if you’re eating plenty of beans and pulses that’s absolutely not the case! Not only are they delicious, but they’re also really high in fibre to match. I recommend eating them pretty much daily if you can and you enjoy them.
A source of fat
Most plants that are high in fat tend to also be higher in unsaturated fats, which are really great for overall health. This can mean using avocados in your salad, or using a dressing that contains extra virgin olive oil, which has loads of health benefits.
A source of carbohydrates
Although there is currently a low-carb trend going on, I don’t believe there’s enough evidence to suggest the whole population needs to take part in this. Go for wholegrain sources of carbohydrates where possible, and if you’re short on time couscous is ready in just 3 minutes. Alternatively, if you’re not a big fan of grains then lentils are your friend.
Lots of fibre
We should be aiming for around 30g of fibre per day, but the population average is around 18g at the moment. The easiest way to get more fibre into your diet is by eating more plants! If you’re building a salad, adding 2-3 portions of vegetables will contribute greatly to this.
If you’re eating a variety of colours, then you’re getting a wider variety of nutrients. So when deciding which vegetables to add try and go for three differently coloured ones, for example: butternut squash, tomatoes, and aubergine.
Something green and leafy
Colour is great and important, but leafy greens should be included in pretty much any salad. But get inventive with them, don’t just go for iceberg, switch it up! You could use peppery rocket, watercress, spinach, or even herbs like basil and parsley for a completely different and more exciting flavour.
A simple but delicious dressing
No salad is complete without a dressing. If you’re feeling extra lazy (which is totally fine!) then pesto from a jar is exactly what you need. I like simplicity in my dressings, so something with olive oil, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper is all you need to elevate your salad.
This dish is in collaboration with The Real Greek, and is available nationwide until the end of August - don't miss out!
tagged in Vegan