How to be a salad master chef

by Kelly Snailum, Pilates teacher and Stelari Rhythm Maker

Recipes to creating salads you actually want to eat everyday


Salad: n. a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.


It’s true that making the choice to eat a salad rather than less healthy food items is an important piece to the diet puzzle. Preparing something that is not already bagged with a creamy dressing and cheese takes time, effort, and can be too much of a hassle for a busy mom or hectic household.


Let’s start with the building blocks


The veggies

Think of fresh leaves and greens, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, brussels sprouts and beets. The veggies are all the things that make up a low-calorie, healthy mix of crunchy goodness.


The add-ons

Adding fruit such as avocado, blueberries, strawberries, dried cherries or cranberries and a few nuts (like pecans, walnuts or almonds) to a salad can spice things up a bit. A little bit of add-ons will give you the sweet and crunchy you don’t get from your basic veggie-only mix. Watch the portion sizes and the candied options.


The protein

Every hearty salad needs protein to fill you up and ensure this basic food group requirement is met.

  • If you are a carnivore, this task can be easily remedied with chicken breast or turkey. I don’t suggest clouding your healthy salad option with anything heavier.
  • If you are like me - a fish-only fanatic - tuna or salmon will make a good salad pretty great.
  • If you are a vegetarian or don’t prefer meats in your salad, my favorite options include: Lentils (100 grams of Lentils contain 9 grams protein)Black Beans (100 grams of Black Beans contain 8.86 grams protein); Edamame (100 grams of frozen, unprepared Edamame contain 10.25 grams protein); Garbanzo Beans (100 grams of Garbanzo Beans 8.86 grams protein)


The grain

In order to make my salad a meal, I like to add a grain to the symphony. Quinoa or Farro are my two favorite salad fillers. They are easy to prepare ahead of time (the kind I buy) and both add a great texture to my veggie mix. Quinoa is packed full of protein so it adds to my above requirement. Farro is high in fiber and a good source of protein as well. Bulgur is super high in fiber and Barley is high in manganese and fiber (and has a pasta-like texture). There are many more to choose from but you get the point. Some of these are high in calories as well – so stick to one serving (or even 1/2) when you scoop it into your bowl. But remember these are all natural, whole-foods so even if the calorie intake is a little higher because of it, your body will process it with ease.


The dressing

Generally speaking, salads can take on an entirely different personality (and calorie intake) based on the dressing. If the right combination of yummy ingredients come together, you should not feel the need to “dress up” your salad much. Stick to a little splash of olive oil or balsamic vinegar. My personal go-to is Red Wine and Olive Oil Vinaigrette – or something along the lines of an Italian Dressing.



Your salad portion should be based on your activity level just like anything else. If I follow the build guidelines above I don’t stress too much on the amount of healthy foods I intake. If you have read Forks Over Knives, the theory is if it is healthy you really don’t need to calculate each calorie. That being said, I have used My Fitness Pal to add up calories on the salads I prepare. Typically it makes me feel like my portions should be smaller so I don’t get full and by the time I get home from work I am starving and proceed to take down a box of crackers before dinner. A box! But it’s your call if you want to add these to your calorie calculators.


Convenience: n. the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.


This could be one of the most beautiful concepts to a busy human. Sometimes though, we have to decide between convenient and healthy. I am not a fan of that compromise. I need things simple, convenient, yummy AND healthy. Insert Trader Joes. It just happens to be where I spend my Sunday mornings. I’m not trying to push TJ’s on anyone, BUT I have managed to master the art of some super tasty, super easy, super healthy, super salads with the help of Trader Joes convenience.

A few important things to point out:

  1. I typically pick 2-3 salads off this list and plan on those being my options for the week. A few repeats during the week are fine. That way I don’t buy too much for the week and have to throw greens away.
  2. The leafy greens portion of each of these recipes is interchangeable for the most part. So if you bought a little more of something that is left over, use it!
  3. I typically pick one grain for the week and prepare it on Sunday. It makes the daily preparation more of a buffet than concerning myself with cooking.
  4. I am a Pescatarian but work in a boutique studio where smells are out in the open to those trying to workout. I don’t add fish unless I have some leftovers and plan to eat outside. You can substitute any of the protein options with your favs from above.
  5. I’m not providing servings of each or total calories/fat/protein. You can make your salad as small or large as you want.


Start creating to find your salad rhythm!

Shopping List:

  • Cruciferous Crunch Collection Salad Mix
  • Broccoli and Kale Slaw Mix
  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts
  • Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix
  • Shelled Edamame
  • Cucumber
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Steamed Lentils
  • Steamed & Peeled Baby Beets
  • Cage Free Fresh Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs
  • Organic Garbanzo Beans
  • Organic Tri-Color Quinoa (can go with white or red)
  • 10-Minute Farro/Barley
  • Dried Cherries/Cranberries/Blueberries


Salad Recipes Made Easy

Shaved Brussel Sprouts
Grape Tomatoes
Dried Cherries
Olive Oil or Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Hold The Mayo Egg Salad
Broccoli and Kale Slaw Mix – I don’t use the dressing from this packaged salad.
Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix
Sunflower seeds from the salad bag
Shelled Edamame
Dried fruit from the salad bag
2 Hard-Boiled Eggs (can use just the egg whites)
Farro or Barley (if I prepared Quinoa for the week I would use that)
Olive Oil or Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Lazy Lentils Salad
Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Steamed Lentils
Grape Tomatoes
Shelled Edamame or leftover cucumber
Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix
Olive Oil or Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Beets So Happy
Cruciferous Crunch Collection Salad Mix
Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix
Steamed & Peeled Baby Beets
Organic Garbanzo Beans
Shelled Edamame
Quinoa or Farro
Olive Oil or Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Lose the Lettuce
Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix
Hard Boiled Eggs (egg whites okay)
Organic Garbanzo Beans
Shelled Edamame
Olive Oil or Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

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