Main dish salads

Turn your side salad into a nutritious, economical main dish.

Main dish salads

Adding a variety of foods to a bowl of summertime leafy greens is an easy way to turn salads from a side dish to the main dish. What better time of year to do that than summer?

To turn a side salad into a complete meal, just add a little protein.

  • Salads are a great way to use leftover grilled chicken or steak.
  • Using lunchmeats, such as smoked turkey, ham, chicken, tuna, salami and corned beef is a good way to add a little meat and protein to your salads.
  • Beans are also a source of protein that can be used with, or in place of meat. All kinds of beans can make your summertime salad nutritious and healthy. Open a can of kidney, cannellini, garbanzo or black beans to add to your salads.
  • Add boiled eggs to your salads for another source of nutritious protein, also adding color.
  • Enhance your salads by adding cheese. Cheese adds color and protein.

Add some crunch to your salads.

  • Cut some fresh, raw sweet corn off the cob and add to your salads.
  • Toast nuts and sprinkle in or on salads. To toast nuts just toss some pecans, walnuts or almonds into a skillet and stir over medium heat until the nuts turn a shade darker and give off an enticing aroma. The toasting brings out their flavor.
  • Sunflower seeds can add a lot to a salad. Hulled raw sunflower seeds or roasted shelled seeds can be used to give a salad more variation.
  • Add homemade croutons to salads. To make homemade croutons follow these steps:
  1. Cut stale bread into cubes or leave fresh bread sitting out to dry.
  2. Place the bread cubes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a little melted butter if you so desire, and mix well.
  3. Sprinkle the cubes with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, marjoram and whatever other seasonings you prefer.
  4. Place the bread cubes in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes or so
  5. When bread cubes are lightly browned and dry, cool them and place them in a moisture proof bag or container.

Michigan State University Extension suggests that you use plain running water and thoroughly rinse all leafy greens unless they are packaged ready to eats greens. The next step is to dry them well. You can dry them by placing them on clean cloth towels or paper towels and blotting. Greens can also be dried using a salad spinner.

Regardless of what you choose for your salads, they are sure to be colorful and appetizing if you use a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, meats and croutons to make it special. It will also be very nutritious and filling!

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