This basic compartmented recipe is a great guide to making the perfect lunch salad, just the way you like it, and it needn't ever be the same. Personally I love salad - as weird as some people may think that is! There are so many different ways you can adapt it to how you are feeling and what you have in the fridge/cupboard so that it never gets boring.
Lunch can be a tricky one to know what to have, as many of us are used to taking lunch to work or getting it out, so when it comes to lunch at home, it can be difficult to know what to have.
I thought I would share with you my use 'go to' lunch. It follows a basic guide and is full of healthy and fresh foods, always leaving me feel nourished and ready for the afternoon (whatever that may bring). No-one wants to deal with that sluggish post lunch dip!
The beauty of this lunch salad is that you can add or remove things depending on how you are feeling. For example, sometimes I just want 'allll' the foods so I will make sure that I add some more carbohydrates, and healthy fats in to make sure I am suitably satisfied afterwards. This really depends on how your body responds to the different elements - some people may want to add more protein but i've found the carbs and healthy fats stabilise my body and feelings better.
The salad is based around the following 5 elements:
Vegetable base: this can be any salad or vegetables that you have in stock - I like the classic lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish (whatever I have in the fridge basically). You can also add some left over cooked/roasted or raw veggies into the salad for some extra flavour and texture - or even grate in some carrot or apple.
Carbohydrate/starch addition: New potatoes, quinoa, couscous, pasta, croutons, bread/crackers on the side.
Protein (meat/veg alternative): Chicken, ham, egg, bacon, tuna, salmon, tofu, mixed beans, falafel etc...
Extras: toasted seeds/nuts, cheese (of any kind - my personal favourite is either mature cheddar or goats cheese), herbs, crispy bacon bits, avocado etc...
Dressing: mayonnaise, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, lemon juice (or a combination of all).
above right: Tuna, avocado and goat cheese salad with new potatoes and toasted seeds. above left: Streaky bacon, avocado and goats cheese salad with quinoa (in bottom) and cress.
Choose a bowl or plate to start your creation - I recommend a large soup bowl (bigger than a cereal bowl) or a medium size plate.
1. Start by chopping up your chosen salad/vegetables. You will want to fill the bowl/plate up to about 2/3 full and mix so everything is well mixed.
2. Add your carbohydrate, the amount of this is dependant on how you feel. If you’ve had a hard day or will have a busy afternoon you will probably want more of this. Generally about 1/4 of the bowl/plate will be enough. (Examples can be seen above)
3. Add your protein - my go to is half a tin of tuna, as we always have stock of this in the cupboard! (Some other examples can be seen above)
4. Add the extras - I always add a tablespoon of toasted sunflower/pumpkin seeds (dry fry them in a frying pan), a grating of cheese and a dollop of mayo or a drizzle of olive oil.
Note: These extra bits are important to make the salad yummy and satisfying, else just lettuce can be boring!
5. Drizzle with your dressing of choice (or leave plain if you prefer) and enjoy!