Summer is over, but salad season remains in full bloom. When it comes to fall salads, it is about enjoying all the produce that autumn offers. From a nutritional standpoint, most of us could stand to bump up our intake of fruits and vegetables, fiber, and disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients. According to recent studies, few Americans actually consume the 2-3 cups of vegetables recommended daily by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Get excited about creating fall salads:
- Make your Plate Pretty: Using a variety of fruits and vegetables not only looks beautiful, but a colorful plate also offers a wide range of nutrients for your health. Take your salad to the next level by pulling out a special bowl or platter and/or adding a simple garnish.
- Jazz Up your Base: If your go-to green is romaine, try mixing in some chopped kale, spinach, sliced cabbage, or shredded brussel sprouts. Or grab a green or veggie you would not normally add to a salad – maybe some radicchio or endive?
- Use Cooked Vegetables: Lose the “raw only” mentality when it comes to salads.
- Add roasted beets, squash sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or sprouts, just to name a few options.
- Add grilled zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers, or corn for a seasonal twist.
- Recycle leftover veggies – or make extra in anticipation.
- Make it Sweet: Adding fruit boosts the flavor and nutrition profile of a salad.
- Add fresh and seasonal fruits like apples and pears.
- Enjoy a tropical mango or some sweet berries.
- Pomegranate ariels offer both a sweet and tart flavor.
- Some fruits like strawberries can be blended into dressing.
- Dried fruits like golden raisins, apricots and fig can add texture and flavor.
- Add Texture: If looking for crunch, add some seeds, nuts, or toasted croutons. For a creamy element, consider goat cheese or avocado. Shredding versus chopping fresh vegetables changes up the texture. So does using pantry staples, such as artichokes or jarred roasted red peppers.
- Make it a Meal: By adding some protein and grains, a simple side salad can be transformed into a complete meal. Look in your refrigerator. The trick is to get creative, without making it complicated.
- Add leftover proteins like grilled fish or chicken.
- Cut up some cheese, open up a can of chickpeas, pull out some edamame from the freezer or hard boil a couple of eggs.
- Toss in leftover quinoa or make a batch of farro or brown rice.
- Dress it up: Step away from some of the standard salad dressings and consider using a variety of oils and vinegars.
- Try avocado, walnut, or sesame oil instead of olive oil.
- Swap out red wine vinegar for champagne or balsamic fig vinegar.
- Use different spices, citrus zest, and mustards to create a unique and delicious salad dressing.
This Warm Roasted Sweet Potato, Farro, and Greens Salad hits all the right buttons. Perfect for a plant-based meal, it has texture, color and flavor that is protein packed, high in fiber and will keep you satisfied from the first bite to the last.
For a hearty fall salad, this Apple Gorgonzola Salad is a winning recipe. The rich creamy cheese combined with the sweet crunching apple is topped off with a balsamic vinegar and mustard dressing.
Don’t miss this Spinach, Beet and Chicken Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing. Loaded with color and good-for-you ingredients, including chickpeas and avocado, this salad will become a staple this fall.
Last but not least, enjoy this Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe that was highlighted at my recent nutrition class.
Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe
Yields: 4 servings
For the Dressing:
- ⅓ cup low fat mayonnaise
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Salt to taste/optional
For The Salad:
- 1 apple cut into small cubes
- 3 cups salad greens washed and spin dried
- 1 cup seedless red grapes halved
- 1 cup 2-3 medium size celery stalks, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes
- Stir together mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, pepper and salt, if desired.
- Toss together the diced apple, grapes, celery, walnuts, pomegranate arils), salad greens, and chicken.
- Mix dressing in to coat. Transfer to salad bowl or large plate to serve.
430 cals/serving: 26 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 13 g sugar, 30 grams protein.
Values listed represent a statistical nutritional analysis. There are natural variations that occur in all recipes; these figures may not be exact and are provided for informational purposes only.