We eat salad for dinner every Friday in summer. Just like Soup Friday suited us in the winter months, Salad Friday is a winner for summer.
I really like the idea of not having to think too hard about what to have for dinner on Fridays – particularly at the end of the week, it’s a small step towards simple meal planning for our household. Plus, a lot of salads can be prepared in advance, which makes it so much easier for us to have food at the ready on busy afternoons and evenings.
A salad formula
I’ll let you in on a secret: you can make a huge variety of tasty and substantial salads using a formula. Here’s my basic salad formula:
- start with some grains or legumes
- add some vegetables, either raw or cooked, including something leafy
- add a dressing or sauce
- if you like, sprinkle the salad with extra tasty ingredients such as cheese, seeds or nuts
Try the one in the photo above as an example – quinoa with strawberries and goat cheese (a nice tangy / sweet contrast), with extra salad leaves and walnuts.
Compare this with my formula for making home made soup for winter’s Soup Friday over here.
Make a meal of it
I was chatting with a friend about Salad Friday a while ago and she wondered if a salad would be enough to feed and fill a family. Good question,and I can picture some sad faces at the table if we only had a bowl of lettuce and a bit of tomato to make up the meal. But salads don’t have to be only a side dish, and there are many salads out there which more than make a meal. Also, I often make two different kinds of salads, or boost the salad with substantial ingredients, or sometimes serve bread or other vegetables on the side.
Examples of filling ingredients you can add to a salad to help turn it into a meal include:
- noodles or pasta (gluten free versions of these if need be)
- beans or lentils
- cooked root vegetables
- hard boiled egg
- cooked quinoa, couscous, barley, rice etc
The prepare ahead factor
The fact that elements of your dinner salad can be prepared earlier in the day is a great head start for an easier mealtime.
This example is one that has worked for us a few times – boil up some potatoes, beans and hard boiled eggs in the morning (one after another using the same pot, if you like) and refrigerate until needed for dinner. Add to some salad greens with olives and a simple dressing, and some optional tinned fish to make it even more substantial.
Try cooking up these other things that can be prepared earlier in the day, or on another day and frozen or refrigerated:
- noodles, rinsed in cold water after cooking and kept in the refrigerator
- corn on the cob
- quinoa or rice (we often have small parcels of these in the freezer)
- a salad dressing
- a mix of nuts and seeds, kept in a jar to sprinkle on a salad as a tasty topper
- leftover cooked meat or vegetables from dinner the night before
Dress it up
Even a simple salad can be a super one with a tasty dressing. Try shaking a combination of vinegar and oil and some seasonings in a jar for a light vinaigrette, or blend nuts, seeds and other interesting ingredients for a creamier dressing. You can find some of the salad dressings we really like in a couple of my earlier posts:
- our favourite vinaigrette in this post here
- my Australianised version of a fabulous Clean Cuisine green dressing in this post here (it’s the one pictured above on a quinoa and tinned salmon salad)
Looking for more?
Have a look at this last post for a roundup of 10 amazing salads from other healthy food bloggers.
Find a few more of our family favourite salads in these posts:
Do you have any salad inspiration, or some ideas to help your household eat more tasty salads?