Making a salad isn’t exactly the most exciting way to spend your time. But...eating salads is a really important part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are a few ways to make salads more exciting, delicious and complex. Here’s how!

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You can begin to demystify the salad making process by thinking of a salad in terms of layers. There are 6 layers to a good salad that is delicious, filling, nutritious, balanced, and visually appealing. If you follow the layering approach you’ll realize how there is endless variety in salads. Just pick one or more item from each layer and your set!

Here are the 6 basic layers of a salad:

1) Base

Select an ingredient for the base of the salad. Typically this would be a leafy green vegetable like lettuce, kale, arugula or spinach. But you could also try quinoa, vegetable noodles (like zucchini noodles) or a favorite grain for a more filling salad option.

2) Fruits and vegetables

Now pick a few of your favorite fruits and veggies to add on top of the base. Diced bell peppers are delicious, as are cucumbers, beets, and carrots. Fruits that go well in salad include mandarin oranges, mango and strawberry.

3) Protein

A healthy protein like fish, such as salmon, or legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, will add lots of flavor and satisfy your hunger. You could also try chicken, marinated tofu or tempeh, or another favorite protein of choice.

4) Toppings

Add a few smaller toppings to add a contrast in texture and some extra flavor. Some of our favorites are: slivered almonds, dried cranberries, sprouted alfalfa or beans, bread or polenta croutons.

5) Dressing

With all the flavors coming from the layers of your salad you can probably use a simple salad dressing, choose your favorite from the fridge or use our super helpful guide to making simple healthy salad dressings at home.

6) Garnishes and seasoning

As a final touch garnish the salad with your favorite fresh herb, like finely chopped chives or basil, or sprinkle with dried herbs and spices you love, such as dill, cumin, or paprika. A light sprinkle of sea salt or freshly cracked pepper is usually a good idea too.

At the end of the day our goal is to be your ally in the kitchen, so we sincerely hope this post will help understand the building blocks of a good salad so that you can make salads part of your everyday diet. Here’s to your health!