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How to Make a Salad that Doesn't Suck

We are enjoying our first 70 degree day here in the upper midwest, and I've got to tell you it. is. heaven  

As I discussed here, this is the time of year that our liver is craving renewal.  The garden is begininng to show signs of life and our bodies start to crave fresh and green ingredients, my mind goes to salad.  I live in a household of diverse tastes.  Our daughter is a pescatarian, and the rest of  us are omnivores.  Well, I take that back a bit...our 16 year old son is a definitely a carnivore!  So when it comes to salads, I've found that a big assortment to build our own salads works great!

Are you in a plain old salad funk?  Let's talk about some ideas to spice up your salads and make them a full and satisfying meal that the whole family will love!

I always start with fresh greens, not the pre-bagged, chopped up ones that you have to pick slimy lettuce bits out of.  I like to use red or green leaf lettuce, arugula, spinach and some romaine for crunch.  I also love to add microgreens from our local farmers market.  I chop, clean and toss the whole bunch together and put it in a big bowl.  (If you have a salad spinner the clean greens will keep nicely in the fridge for a few days for lunches too!)

Next, the toppings!  This is a list of a few of our favorites, but you can get the gist and expand from there depending on your families taste.

*halved plum tomatoes
*a carrot, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
*diced cucumber
*diced bell peppers
*sunflower seeds
*pepitas
*any nuts you might want, toasted
*grated or crumbled cheese of your choice (I love to use feta or chevre)
*avocado
*crunched up sweet potato chips
*diced beets
* sliced strawberries or grapes or apples
* cut up roasted chicken breast, shrimp, or steak 

I then set up the kitchen counter assembly line style and everyone builds their own.  It get's the kids involved and there is something for everyone!

Finally, let's look at dressing.   It is the elixir that brings the whole thing together, and many store bought versions are so full of artificial ingredients it can almost negate the beauty of having a salad!  
This is one of my favorites!  It's a simple vinaigrette using essential oils:
2 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Djon Mustard
3 drops Lemon Essential OIl
1 drop Oregano Essential Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk it up and dress!

Do you have any tips for salads that don't suck!?  Comment below, inquiring minds want to know!!
xoxo
Amy Ray

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