Whenever I feel a little blah, I know that adding more greens into my diet will definitely help….with my physical and mental well being. With so many salad options out there, and dressings to go with, adding leafy greens can be tasty and interesting. Plus, wilted greens in soups and stews…or pureed into delicious smoothies….ah, so many options out there!
It’s that time of year….you know, when you start judging yourself…the inner critic is loud and you rationalize the nasty comments by saying it’s an attempt to learn and grow and improve.
How has that worked for you in the past? Yeah, I thought so. I’ve been there. Done that. Wash, rinse, repeat…..year after year. But, not anymore. I’ve moved on to asking myself, “What went well?” and then trying to figure out how to do more of it. This concept works especially well in the food department.
What foods make me feel my best, most vibrant and energetic self?
Probably the same as you….an abundance of greens. That’s where the highest form of energy comes from. Leafy greens (like kale and collards, lettuce and parsley, spinach and arugula, swiss chard and bok choy, dandelion greens and mizuna, escarole and….the list goes on and on) provide an inexpensive and low calorie source of so many important nutrients.
Leafy Greens Are Nutritious.
- Fiber: optimum gut health, help you feel full, and keep your bowels regular.
- B-vitamins: help convert the carbs into energy
- Folic Acid: prevents anemia, produces and maintains new cells
- Vitamin C: healthy immune system
- Potassium: supports blood pressure, bone and muscle strength, cardiovascular health
- Magnesium: decreased risk of diabetes
- Vitamin K: blood clotting, bone health
- Iron: oxygen rich red blood cells
- Calcium: Bone health
- Carotenoids: preserve vision health
Some of the benefits to eating leafy greens:
- More energy
- Lower cholesterol
- Helps prevent colon cancer
- Fights breast cancer
- Lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease
- Helps burn fat during exercise
- Reduces blood clots
- Helps regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Protects against toxins and aging
- Helps keep bowels regular
A great salad dressing is key to eating more greens.
One easy way to increase the amount and variety of greens you eat is to make more salads. Having a great dressing already made means you can throw together whatever is in the crisper drawer and have something delicious in minutes. I always clean out my fridge before I do a food shop. I chop up whatever I can….no recipe needed….and throw it in a bowl with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Here are a few of my favorite dressings:
- Vegan Avocado Lime Dressing: also goes by the well deserved name “green goddess” and it’s worth the hype. So so good. Creamy, dreamy no oil salad dressing that’s dairy-free and delicious.
- Vegan Caesar Dressing: OMG, so delicious. Use it on romaine or in this kale caesar salad or as a dip for veggies.
- Chipotle Salad Dressing: With just the right amount of spice, this creamy dressing is my current crush!
- Creamy Garlic Dressing. Dairy-free and super creamy.
- Everyday Salad Dressing. My “go to” when I have nothing prepped. You can legit make this in 2 minutes.
- If you haven’t tried my green tahini dressing, you must.
More Easy Vegan Salad Recipes:
- Arugula and Avocado Salad: The absolute easiest salad you’ll make…with one bowl and 7-ingredients (including S+P)…plus, everyone will ADORE it!
- Harvest Salad with Apple Vinaigrette: The whole salad is fantastic….but the dressing on this one is worth making a double batch. DEE-lish!
- Cauliflower Salad: Crunchy, salty, chewy, sweet…and satisfying. Plus it’s nutritious and easy to make! There’s a reason this raw cauliflower salad with lime is the number one salad recipe on my site…OK, no leafy greens, but this one is super energizing for other reasons….and it will stay good in the fridge all week without wilting….BIG BONUS!
- Crunchy Quinoa + Kale: There are more kinds of kale that just your regular green curly….this one uses lacinato kale and you’re going to love this easy crispy quinoa….takes a potential boring salad to a whole new level!
- Butternut Squash Salad A tasty way to get in your kale! Creamy tahini balsamic dressing plus roasted squash is a winning combo!
- Easy Green Salad: Get this one prepped and on the table in about 5 minutes, including homemade dressing…a delicious and easy way to be sure to get your greens in.
- Taco Salad with Baked Tortilla Strips Romaine, plus a yummy cilantro dressing…and spiced baked tortilla strips…you’ll make this one over and over…it’s crave-worthy.
Soups + Leafy Greens: YES!!!
I know that many parts of the country are currently experiencing below normal temps and a cold salad may be the last thing you want to eat. Soups are a great way to add greens to your diet. Any soup can handle the addition of some chopped kale, spinach, swiss chard or arugula. Simply stir in some greens when the soup is finished and allow them to wilt before serving.
Here are a few soups and stews that work well with added leafy greens….even if the recipe doesn’t call for any. Go ahead and make your favorite vegan soup, at the end throw in some chopped greens (I usually use kale, but use whatever you have) and stir until they’ve disintegrated a bit and become incorporated into the soup or stew:
- Parsnip and Kale Soup
- Hearty Lentil Soup
- No Beef Stew
- Vegan Split Pea Soup
- Healthy Minestrone
- Vegan Tomato Soup
- Cauliflower Red Lentil
- Roasted Vegetable Soup
Smoothies with leafy greens:
One of the easiest ways to get in your greens is with a smoothie. When I have an abundance of greens in my fridge, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to use them all before they spoil, I throw some into the freezer. You can make a great smoothie with fresh greens or frozen. Here are my top choices:
- Chocolate Cherry Shake shh….don’t tell them it’s actually a green smoothie!
- Lemon Zinger Smoothie. perfect for those who don’t like a sweet smoothie.
- Green Smoothie Suggestions for swaps and subs too.
Tame that inner critic!
When the inner critic starts speaking loudly, ask yourself if you would say those things, or speak that way to a friend? I didn’t think so….if it’s an unacceptable way to speak to someone else, then it’s not a nice way to speak to yourself either. Change the subject. Remember the 3 W’s….and ask yourself, “What Went Well today?”
Still looking for holiday recipes?