Step Up To The Salad Bar

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May is National Salad Month!  I know, I know – salad.  It’s boring and you’re sick of it, right?  It’s what dieters and rabbits eat and seriously, you want “Man” (or “Woman”) food.  Not so fast!  Who says salad has to be a bowl of spinach with a dry chicken breast thrown on top?  If that’s what you’re eating day in and day out – no wonder salad ‘leafs’ you with a bad taste in your mouth!  In honor of National Salad Month ‘lettuce’ toss out the notion of the boring salad and mix things up!  Here are some ideas to help you craft a Paleo Power Salad:

The “Bases” Are Loaded: If your salad is a regular blend of spinach and romaine get ready for a game changer!  Try something new!  Maybe you’ll find that it really is greener on the other side of the fence!   Here are some options:

  • Arugula
  • Beet and/or Dandelion Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Butterhead, Romaine and/or Leaf lettuce
  • Cabbage (red and green)
  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Kale
  • Mesclun
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach and baby spinach
  • Watercress

Until We “Meat” Again:  A salad without meat is what we refer to as an ‘appetizer’ – adding meat makes it a meal.   And, by ‘meat’, I am not referring to the all too familiar dry chicken breast.  Change it up and add some ‘beef’ to your bowl.  Some things to try:

  • Beef, bison and/or Wild game – steak strips, ground beef (especially good in taco salads), leftover pot roast, it all works!
  • Chicken – venture beyond the breast, try chicken thighs, drumsticks, shredded roasted chicken.  This isn’t the dry piece of shoe leather you’re used to!  Grill, roast and season your meat – give it some flavor!
  • Duck, turkey, and other poultry
  • Eggs – hard-boiled, fried, scrambled (make a breakfast salad with eggs and bacon or sausage!)
  • Fish – tuna, salmon, cod, sardines, anchovies, etc.
  • Pork – ham, bacon, shredded/pulled pork, loin, etc.
  • Seafood – shrimp, scallops, oysters, crab, lobster, etc.
  • Sausage – try slicing natural, flavored sausages onto your creation (chicken & apple sausages are great!)

What Else Ya’ Got?  Here’s the fun part!  This is where you get to add your ‘flair’ and personal flavor.  Mix up colors and flavors – the choices are ENDLESS!!!  It can be different every day and try roasting and/or grilling veggies also!  Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Avocado, apple, asparagus, artichoke hearts
  • Broccoli, berries, beets (not the canned, sugar coated stuff – think FRESH)
  • Carrots, celery, cucumber, cauliflower
  • Tomato, hearts of palm
  • Grapes, oranges, pineapple, mango
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts
  • Jicama, onion, zucchini, radishes
  • Spice it up!  Basil, cilantro, oregano, etc
  • Mushroom, peppers (red/green/yellow/purple), kimchi
  • Olives, moderate amounts of nuts/seeds, shredded coconut

“Dressed” for Success:  Olive oil and lemon juice not cutting it?  If you’re more than bored with the standard sauce try something new!  There are LOTS of recipes online for great paleo friendly dressings – check some of them out and if making your own seems like a lot of trouble; here are some ways to jazz up the ‘old standard’.

  • Olive, avocado oil, walnut oil, etc.  (go easy on the nut/seed oils due to the high omega-6 content)
  • Flavored vinegars (be sure to check labels for added sugar!!)
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Salsa (make your own or check the ingredients!)
  • Guacamole (make your own or check the ingredients!)
  • Juices from cooked meats
  • Lemon and lime juice

If you find yourself staring at yet another boring salad, step up the Salad Bar and ‘toss’ some of these ideas around.

Happy National Salad Month!

What’s in your bowl?  Leave us your ultimate salad creation in the comments!

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  1. Joe
    May 9, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Thanks for the great suggestions!! Those daily lunch salads I have can get boring, indeed. I’ve found, even when stuck with boring chicken on them, avocados give them much needed life.

  2. Bill Strahan
    May 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    My standing joke: “Salad is what my meal ate.”

    It usually takes people a moment or two. :) I will admit I enjoy a spinach salad, but too much spinach has an interesting impact on my insides. I was afraid I’d have to learn how to patch porcelain, but it all turned out okay.

    Spinach, eggs, bacon, some other meat, onions, jalapenos, avocado, and if I’m relaxed on the dairy some real bleu cheese mixed with heavy cream for dressing. Solid, and a nice break from meat and sweet potato. Artichoke hearts and kalamata olives sometimes sneak in there as well.

    It’s also a nice time to go low carb. If I got all my carbs in a PWO meal, I can load up on a huge salad for dinner and call it a day.

    • Amy Kubal
      May 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      You make me laugh!! I’m glad you’ve figured out the ‘spinach balance’ – patching porcelain sounds downright shitty… ;)

      • Bill Strahan
        May 10, 2012 at 11:42 am

        Yeah, too much spinach can be a blast. Glad you got a chuckle. This stuff should be fun and enjoyable, which is one of the reasons I love your approach. Non-dogmatic and positive makes it attractive.

  3. Carol
    May 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Artichokes are my “dream” in a salad. I used the canned kind, but rinse them well.

  4. Alex
    May 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    What I do is toss the greens with fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice and put them on the plate. Then I put the protein on top with a fatty sauce drizzled over it. The greater contrast of not having a blended dressing makes the salad much more interesting.

  5. Meghan
    May 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Yes to the breakfast salad!! It’s one of my favs since going paleo. I use spinach or arugula with fresh berries, some sausage or bacon, and two eggs over-easy. The runny yolks make a great dressing for the greens.

  6. Martin
    May 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Salads are great and I eat them every day, as meals, with meat or fish, of course!

    But the main purpose of a salad is simple: fat delivery :-)

  7. Lori
    May 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Mixed greens or spinach, avocado(very important!) cucumber, peppers, onion, tomato, sprouted almonds and pumpkin seeds, hard boiled egg, home grown sprouts, home made dressing of lemon juice, cultured veggie juice, flax, hemp and olive oil. Sometimes I’ll add smoked salmon. If I’m splurging an ounce of raw goat cheese is wonderful! If eating out I always take avocado and my home made dressing.

  8. Mekaylah
    May 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

    This came at a great time Amy, thank you! I just went to the dr and she wants me getting 100-150g carbs from veggies, preferably non starchy for now (I’m a type 1 diabetic), and low fruit. I’m extremely low on d3 (22ng/mL) and she wants me to “clean out” because I’m as tight as a tick.” also, I need more energy to work out. LCD has not been doing me any favors in that dept. oh, and I’m also borderline hypothyroid. So, any pointers on gettin carbs up with those requirements? Thank you so much for all of your hard work. :)

    • Amy Kubal
      May 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Try sweet potatoes and/or yams for your carbs! They are awesome! :)

      • mekaylah
        May 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        thanks amy! i just wasn’t sure since she said to not have that. but, i’ll give em a shot. i topped out at 64g of carbs today. don’t really know what else to do but try the yams and sweet potatoes.

        • Amy Kubal
          May 11, 2012 at 5:04 am

          Try it and let me know how it goes!

    • Louise
      May 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      I think you should get a second opinion. I don’t think anyone needs that many carbs.

  9. paleoslayer
    May 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

    i started adding MCT oil to my dressings- it lights your metabolism on fire! Even coconut oil is only 66% med chain TG’s.

  10. Dineen
    May 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Our lettuce patch has started to bolt because of the heat, so the greens have been interestingly bitter. Mixed romaine and red leaf is what it’s supposed have been but it’s been tasting more like arugula and endive with sliced spring onions or fresh green onion tops growing on the kitchen counter with a drizzle of grapeseed or olive oil and vinegar. The bitter greens have been a great compliment to the meats on the plate.

  11. Beth
    May 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve been loving salads lately. I’ve been loading them up with protein and fat. One of my favorites starts with frying up some bacon. Once it’s done, I lightly sautee my chopped up veggies in some of the leftover bacon fat. Once they’re just softened, I dump them on top of whatever green I’m using (I LOVE arugula) to wilt it slightly. It’s especially good with some goat cheese or bleu cheese – the heat from the veggies makes it melt slightly. I top with a homemade vinaigrette and 2 chopped hard boiled eggs. And the chopped up crispy bacon, of course! It’s my favorite salad of all time. My dressing is a squirt of mustard, a squeeze of lime, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, with a dollop of coconut milk mixed in for creaminess. Mmmm, I think I’ll have a big salad for dinner tonight! =)

  12. Gabby
    May 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Try adding whole pickled okra–adds tasty variation!

  13. Mark
    May 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Rob,

    Quick question: are snap peas, snow peas, green/yellow beans considered a legume? If so, are they as potentially problematic as the other legumes? Is the reason the proline proteins?
    thanks!
    Mark

    • Amy Kubal
      May 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Mark, they aren’t as problematic as the other legumes and are okay for most from time to time. If you are dealing with some autoimmune or health issues it’s best to stay steer clear though.

  14. bryony
    July 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    An easy, healthy dressing is SESAME TAHINI and some wheat-free tamari with a little water (in a jar with a lid – shake well). Make it thicker if you want. Pour over lettuce, roasted brussels sprouts, avocado, walnuts and cabbage. YUM!

  15. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    September 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    FAVORITE SALAD = Seared Tuna or Ventresca Tuna (Tuna Belly) with BUTTER LETTUCE, Hard Boiled Eggs, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Green Beans, Olives, Capers, Red Onion, Artichoke Hearts and a delicious olive oil, dijon mustard and white wine vinegar dressing.

    I also love GRILLED vegetables like eggplant and onions draped over spinach, they wilt it making the whole mix, AMAZING! Throw some bison or GF beef on top… Uh, yum – Or seared scallops, oh boy!

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