Vegetable salad: 5 tasty ideas to replace the same old lettuce

     

    Vegetable salad

     

    There is no meal in my house that does not contain a salad, 365 days a year.
    However, bringing a (sad) bowl of lettuce to the table in the coldest months may not seem like a very appealing idea, sometimes even to me.
    So I wanted to share with you these 5 delicious vegetable salad ideas to bring in top-notch nutrients and functional molecules along with the colours of the rainbow.

    Because the mistreated salad (let’s be honest, not everyone likes it whether with lettuce or vegetables in general) actually has multiple functions in a healthy, balanced diet:

    helps you to fill your stomach with fewer calories and, thanks to prolonged chewing, keep excess pounds at bay;
    provides a large number of useful vitamins and minerals to combat seasonal illnesses, helping to strengthen the immune system (see the link to learn more tricks to strengthen our defences);
    – thanks to the presence of vitamin C, blood sugar levels are reduced, which would otherwise rise as a result of ingesting meals rich in carbohydrates, causing insulin spikes (use this trick also for other dishes with a high glycemic index such as potatoes);
    – vitamin C also improves the absorption of certain minerals such as iron;
    the fibres present slow down digestion (i.e. intestinal transit), prolonging the sense of satiety.

    In addition to the above, vegetable salads also help to thin out leftovers, thus eliminating food waste (read this article to learn other tricks to reduce your food waste).
    So by starting to see it no longer as a “mandatory” side dish, but as a great way of introducing more macro- and micro-nutrients into our humble diet, it will become easier to meet nutritional requirements without having to rely on supplements.
    However, we must be careful to choose only seasonal (see the table of seasonal fruit and vegetables) and preferably organic vegetables for our vegetable salad: to avoid pesticide residues in our bowl (for more information on pesticide residues and for the ways to reduce their quantity you can read this article).

     

    Table – Some of the essential nutrients found in various winter vegetables (per 100 g of vegetable)

    Table of nutrient content of winter vegetables

    The table was elaborated from data issued on the website of the United States Department of Agriculture – USDA

     

    5 different winter vegetable salads


    1- Coleslaw salad
     

    Ingredients

    (for 2 persons)

    200 g cabbage, thinly sliced
    1 carrot cut into sticks (optional)
    50 g red cabbage, finely chopped (optional)

    for salad dressing

    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    3 tablespoons of soya yogurt (find out how to make it at home here) or traditional milk yoghurt (see the perfect recipe here)
    1 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon of pekmez (grape molasses), maple syrup or honey
    Salt and pepper to taste
     

    Directions

    Wash and dry the cabbage (and other vegetables) well and chop them very finely.
    Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl, then add to the vegetable salad.
    For best results and extra convenience, prepare this vegetable salad with cabbage a few hours in advance to soften the fibres and make it easier to digest.
     

    2 – Fennel, olives and orange salad


    Ingredients

    (for 2 persons)

    200 g fennel, very finely chopped
    1 orange, preferably with the white part removed and finely chopped
    ¼ red onion, very finely chopped (optional)
    a few fennel leaves for garnish

    for dressing

    1 tablespoons of evo oil
    1 tablespoon of lemon juice (some oranges are very sour and do not require lemon, taste before adding)
    salt and pepper to taste


    Directions

    Wash and dry the fennel well and chop it very finely.
    Do the same with the orange and onion.
    Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl, then add to the vegetable salad.
     

    3 – Celeriac and walnut salad


    Ingredients

    (for 2 persons)

    200 g grated celeriac
    5-6 walnuts, coarsely chopped
    some lemon juice drops to avoid oxidizing
    a few dill leaves for garnish (optional)

    for dressing

    4 tablespoons of soy yoghurt or Greek yoghurt
    1 tablespoons of evo oil
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    half a clove of garlic, grated
    salt and pepper to taste
     

    Directions

    Wash and dry the celeriac well; after peeling it, grate it and immediately mix it with lemon juice to avoid oxidation.
    Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl, then add to the vegetable salad with celeriac and walnuts.
     

    4 – Parsnip salad and roasted carrots


    Ingredients

    (for 2 persons)

    1 large parsnip
    2 medium carrots
    10 green olives
    a drizzle of olive oil for cooking
    basil leaves for garnish

    for dressing

    1 tablespoons of evo oil
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste
     

    Directions

    Wash and dry the parsnips and carrots well (if they are not organic, you should better peel them), cut them into discs and roast them for 20 minutes at 180 degrees (for an eco-friendly approach make this salad only when you are already using the oven to cook other things).
    When cool, combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl, then add to the vegetable salad with roasted parsnips and carrots.
     

    5 – Jerusalem artichoke, radicchio and walnut salad


    Ingredients

    (for 2 persons)

    200 g Jerusalem artichokes
    50 g radicchio, coarsely chopped
    5-6 chopped walnuts
    A few leaves of lettuce, rocket or dandelion for garnish (optional)

    for dressing

    1 tablespoons of evo oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    Wash and dry the vegetables well; finely chop the Jerusalem artichoke and immediately add a few drops of lemon juice to prevent oxidation.
    In a salad bowl put together the coarsely chopped radicchio, the Jerusalem artichoke slices and other veggie leaves of your choice.
    In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the dressing, then pour over the vegetable salad with the Jerusalem artichokes and sprinkle with walnuts.
     

    Smart combos

    Salads should be present in healthy, balanced meals; but a healthy (and long-term) meal cannot be made up of salad alone.
    In order to have an ideal diet, it is necessary to include a good amount of protein (preferably of vegetable origin, see here the foods rich in protein), good fats (read the specific article to find out more) and complex carbohydrates rich in fibre
    .
    So combine a vegetable salad with a red lentil soup, chickpea crepes or a veggie burger.

    Bon appétit and good revolution to all

     

     

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