A salad is probably the easiest side or meal you can make. It is often overlooked when I start planning weekly meals, but it can be used as a side with almost anything, or with a little creativity, it can serve as your entire meal. One of the many reasons we use it as a side so often is because each salad can be customized to one’s preferences. We buy all our vegetables fresh from Trader Joe’s and chop them up on Sundays to eat throughout the week. Ingredients in hand, we are now ready to make the perfect side salad.
The image above is what I like my side salad to consist of; organic argulua, chopped cucumber, broccoli, tomato, and roasted unsalted sunflower seeds. I also like to top mine with fresh ground pepper and prefer a balsamic dressing. My current favorite is Tessemae’s Organic Honey Balsamic; it has only 1 gram of sugar per serving and is gluten and dairy-free. You can purchase online, but I purchase mine in the cold section of Whole Foods or EarthFare.
The above picture is my husband’s version of the perfect side salad. If you don’t mind including dairy in your diet, he adds goat cheese to his kale, broccoli florets, and chopped cucumber. His current go-to dressing is Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Salad Dressing. It is also gluten and dairy-free but has more of an onion/garlic flavor than I would prefer. You can find this dressing in the cold cases with the fresh vegetables.
A few other dressing recommendations we’ve used in the past, since it can sometimes be difficult to find healthier options:
- Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette
- Tessemae’s Organic Classic Italian
- Plain Balsamic Vinegar (pick your favorite… definitely the most healthy option!)
One thing to always consider when making a salad: salad dressing can make a healthy meal unhealthy if you pick the wrong one. Pay especially close attention to the sugar.
Below are the ingredients we both use to make up our salads, but it is easy to substitute or add any of your favorite vegetables. The perfect side salad is economical and can be used throughout the week. If you have any leftover meats from previous meals, it is super easy to add as a salad topping and turn your salad into an entree.
- 1 Roma tomato sliced
- 1 English cucumber (or any type of cucumber) peeled and chopped
- 1 bag of organic broccoli florets (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)
- Roasted sunflower seeds (I get the unsalted ones from Trader Joe’s)
- Goat cheese
- Salad Dressing (I prefer Tessemae’s Organic Honey Balsamic and my husband’s current favorite is Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Salad Dressing)
- Fresh ground pepper (optional)
- Combine any of your favorite topping above in a small bowl. Add dressing and enjoy!