Soups and salads are the perfect start to any meal or an ideal pairing for a nutritious lunch. Both also allow you to get more vegetables into your diet, and some of the best flavors come from a little creativity. The soups and salads below are flavorful, creative recipes that add a variety of nutritious produce into your life. Let us know which you love best!
The blueprint for an awesome salad
A salad can be as simple as putting some chopped green leaves into a bowl. But why stop at lettuce? There’s a whole world of flavor waiting for you!
Here’s a great way to start:
Step one: The base. The more types of lettuce you have, the more interesting the final product will be! Kale, romaine, dandelion greens, spinach, the list is endless.
Step two: More vegetables. Pretty much any type of fresh vegetable belongs on a salad, and we encourage you to experiment with grilled, cooked, or pickled veggies.
Step three: Something crunchy or grainy. Seeds, nuts, and warm or cold grains like quinoa or brown rice all bring a satisfying flavor (and texture) to a salad.
Step four: Protein. Some of the grains from step three (like quinoa) count as protein, or you can layer on legumes, hard-boiled eggs, or animal protein.
Step five: A little extra. We love something unexpected, like grilled pineapple. But you can experiment with fresh herbs, cheese, or dried fruit to find your favorite flavor match!
Step six: Dress it up. Some salads have so many other fixings that you don’t even need the dressing! But of course, feel free to add a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar or a full dressing on top. (More about dressings below.)
Tada! Six steps to a fabulous salad!
What about dressing?
Bottled salad dressings tend to be a nutritional abyss. From added sugar, to chemicals and additives, to poor-quality oils, many salad dressings on the market are not a healthy choice. If you decide to buy a bottled dressing (we do sometimes), look for high-quality oils like olive and avocado, minimal added sugar, and a list of ingredients that you can recognize.
It is also so easy to make your own. Most homemade dressings last in the refrigerator for several days, so it is worth the five minutes of time upfront. You can use leftover dressings as marinades too!
A basic vinaigrette is as simple as:
- One part vinegar or something citrus, like lemon juice
- Three parts oil (preferably, a high-quality extra virgin olive oil)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk or blend the ingredients. Then taste and adjust seasoning. From that basic recipe, you can create all kinds of variations!
- Herby: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh or 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried (try dill, Italian, basil, etc) herbs
- Cheesy: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Garlicky: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- Mustard-y: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Check out our recipes above for lots more salad dressing ideas. Better yet, experiment with different variations and see what you and your family love!
Soup, Stew, and Everything in between
Soups and stews are so forgiving! They are a great way to use up extra produce you have in your fridge and you rarely have to follow a recipe exactly. Once you get the broth down, you can add in a variety of different ingredients. Half an onion leftover from another meal? Chop it up and throw it into chili. Extra beans from Taco Tuesday? Your lentil soup would love some extra color. The flavor continues to build the day or two after you make it, so they also act as a quick and easy lunch or leftover dinner on busy nights. Play around with our soup recipes and let us know what tastes great!
We want you as our friend!
We have tons of yummy recipes, including plenty of soups and salads, crammed into our done-for-you meal plans, complete with a grocery list. Take your nutrition to the next level here.