Making Salads More Delicious

I’ll be honest.  I don’t like ordering salads in restaurants.  I feel like I get a giant pile of lettuce drowning in dressing and very little of the “good stuff.”  Lettuce is so boring to me so of course you have to drown it in dressing to make it taste good.  I also don’t blame those who need a thick, creamy dressing.  Eating boredom is no way to be healthy.  Remember, use nutrition to your advantage but don’t go on a diet for weight loss and sacrifice taste.  Use some of these ideas to make your salads more satisfying.

  • I like turning my favorite meals into a salad.  I also like to add salads to spoof up my leftovers.  I feel lighter and still get my fix.  For example, want sushi?  Add salmon, tuna, shrimp, brown rice, ginger, edamame, crab meat, avocado, cucumber, etc.  Want Gyros, add roasted meat with romaine, feta cheese, red onions, tomatoes, etc.  Want burger, add lean beef/turkey/veggie burger to lettuce, tomato, pickles, avocado, blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, etc.  Be creative.  I couldn’t live on a lettuce/tomato/cucumber salad diet.
  • Add side dishes.  If you love roast veggies, try adding brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, roasted sweet potatoes, or grilled asparagus to your salad.  Think about your favorite side dish.
  • Do you love breakfast?  Add poached eggs with warm spinach to your salad plus honeydew or cantaloupe.
  • Add protein.  Sure there’s fish, beef, chicken, etc. but don’t forget plant-based options like tofu, chick peas, black beans, lentils, etc.
  • Make it hearty. Make your salad bed out of warm whole grains such as quinoa, barley, farro, brown rice, wild rice, etc and top with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, eggplants, green beans, beets, etc.
  • Add some crunch.  Try toasted pecans, walnuts, pumpkins, sunflower seeds, jicama, green apples, bell peppers, or homemade croutons.
  • Add sweetness.  Add seasonal fruits such as berries, peaches, figs, cantaloupe, honeydew, tangerines, grapefruits, pears, mangoes, pineapples, pomegranates, etc.  Or try shredded coconuts, dried fruits, or roasted beets.
  • Add pickles.  Experiment with pickling your own vegetables besides cucumber, olives, artichoke hears.  Quick pickling adds fermentation benefits to your gut.  Try pickled cauliflower, asparagus, beets, cabbage, red onions, okra, radish, and pretty much any vegetable can turn into a yummy pickled dish.
  • Add herbs. Try adding dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, green onions, or chives.
As you can see, the options are endless.  Of course you wouldn’t do all of these but swap out different ingredients and create a theme.  Is it an Asian crunch salad (fish, cabbage, carrots, sesame seeds, tangerines, peanuts, mint) or a grilled salad (grilled eggplants, zucchini, bell pepper, mushroom, figs over greens, meat or chickpeas, and farro) or Mexican bowl (black beans, avocado, corn, jalapeños, jicama, mangoes over romaine lettuce or quinoa?  You get the idea.  Please make your food delicious.  No more dieting.  Focus on nutrition and recognize that we all have different taste buds.  Once the ingredients are delicious to YOU, you don’t need to drown it in dressing.  Just olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper will do.


If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.


~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA