If you’re looking to take your health journey to the next level, a plant-based diet might be a great option for you. Looking to improve your health and change to a plant-based way of eating can feel pretty overwhelming however if you’re looking to add variety to your meals, plant-based salads are the easiest way to start! They are an easy, nutrient-rich meal that leaves you feeling satisfied but not weighed down. Plant-based salads are packed with both vitamins and minerals from healthy fats, non-meat proteins, and greenhouse grown vegetables that keep our bodies healthy and reduce the risk of disease!
A plant-based salad is one powerful meal. They are filled with some of the healthiest ingredients for your body to feel your best and who doesn’t like that? If you’re considering a shift in your diet or looking to make small, impactful changes to your health, plant-based salads are for you. They are an easy, fresh alternative for almost any meal of the day! Whether you’re looking for health benefits or recipe inspiration for plant-based salads, we’ve got you covered. It’s important to remember to think of all you are adding to your life with plant-based meals as they add extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that many people struggle to get enough of daily.
WHAT IS A PLANT-BASED SALAD?
So, what exactly qualifies as a plant-based salad? Most people assume it is referring to only a vegan or vegetarian salad. While this is true, there are so many more flavors to explore. A plant-based diet is essentially a diet where the majority of your foods come from plant sources like greenhouse grown vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts. So, a plant-based salad is the same; plenty of fresh fruits and veggies! The change can be as simple as making more of an effort to pack more fruits and vegetables into your salads and eating fewer foods like meats, dairy, and eggs. Regardless of whatever spectrum of diet you chose to follow for your health, salads are an easy way to live a more plant-based life! Start by adding in 1-2 meatless meals a week and go from there!
HEALTH BENEFITS –
Plant-based diets are often looked at as one of the healthiest approaches to eating. If you’re considering eating fewer animal products and choosing to live an alternative diet with plant-based salads, there are many benefits to doing so! These benefits go beyond just weight loss and extend from overall health, to our carbon footprint. Your health will be positively impacted by decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and many cancers. Enjoying plant-based foods like greenhouse grown vegetables also has a less environmental impact. Greenhouse growing and plant-based foods use less land, energy, and water, creating a more sustainable future. Plus the bonus that they are available year-round so you never have to sacrifice fresh vegetables!
ADD ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS –
When we think of nutritious salads that will keep us full for hours, we often add proteins to help keep us satisfied. Protein is essential for our bodies to function and just because our plant-based salad won’t have meat, it doesn’t mean it has to lack protein! Some experts recommend eating up to 15 grams of protein in every meal and removing meat does not have to mean removing that protein from your salad! There are so many different foods that can be great substitutes for meat like tofu, quinoa, mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas, and most beans! Peppers also contain about 1g of protein per cup making them a great ingredient to add to any salad if you are looking for an extra source of protein for your meal! Along with peppers, there are also many different simple ingredient swaps for salads that will keep you full for hours! Try swapping iceberg lettuce for spinach or kale as the base of your salad, or add almonds or chickpeas as a topping for extra protein!
TRY NEW RECIPES –
So now that you are inspired to eat more plant-based meals, where do you start? Plant-based salads do not just have to be a boring bowl of greens lacking flavor. Go beyond the greens and fill your bowl with an assortment of flavors and textures that won’t make you feel like you’re eating the same old salad for every meal! These plant-based recipes filled with greenhouse grown vegetables help you make healthy changes to your life, while still being extremely fresh and delicious. And yes, they even have the perfect amount of protein!
BLACK GRAM AND CUCUMBER SALAD
Black gram is a type of lentil and is a powerful ingredient for any plant-based salad that is usually overlooked! Our friend Ruda Khan from @mygourmetstory created this Black Gram and Cucumber Salad recipe that is super simple and quick to make. It’s an absolute must-try with fresh ingredients like Poco® Bites Cocktail Cucumbers, a Beefsteak Tomato, black gram, onions, lime juice, paprika and fresh cilantro, which all have amazing health benefits to fuel your day.
To create this recipe, you’ll start by soaking black grams overnight, the night before you want to create this salad and boil them the next day. There are so many health benefits of black grams, they will soon be a staple in your plant-based salads. The black gram will be your protein source for this recipe with 25.21g of protein for every 100 grams. They also contain vitamin B, potassium, calcium, and iron. The fresh flavors and crunch of the chopped Poco® Bites Cocktail Cucumbers keep this salad filled with Vitamin K, Phytonutrients and Potassium.
To serve this salad combine all your ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix well and garnish with as much fresh cilantro as you desire!
MINI CUCUMBER TOFU SALAD
Using tofu is a great protein alternative for your salads because it is so versatile! This Mini Cucumber Tofu Salad is a glorious, simple recipe with crisp Organic Mini Cucumbers, infused with a zippy, garlicky dressing that makes for a complete meal. Tofu is high in protein and has healthy fats, carbs, and a wide variety of minerals and vitamins. All the health benefits make tofu a great addition to this nutrient-rich salad with broccoli and Organic Mini Cucumbers to make it complete!
To make this salad start by mixing garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, chili flakes, and sesame oil in a bowl and stir it well. Next, you will add your cucumbers and broccoli, toss them until they are coated well and set that bowl aside. To prepare the tofu, heat chili oil and tofu over medium high heat in a frying pan. Cook your tofu for 2 minutes until golden brown. To serve this salad divide the salad into serving dishes and top with sesame seeds and tofu! There you have it, a quick and easy complete plant-based salad!
FEEL YOUR BEST –
It’s clear there are many benefits of eating a plant-based diet and the best way to begin is to start with some simple swaps like incorporating more plant-based salads into your day! Be intentional with your meals and eat salads that are filled with many flavors and nutrients that will help you power through your days and feel your best! Think of all the benefits you are adding to your diet instead of what you are cutting out. Eating more plant-based salads means getting more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that we usually lack in our day-to-day! Plant-based salads are not only good for you but are good for the environment as well, helping you live a more sustainable lifestyle all around and in turn, helping you Live Deliciously®
Looking for more salad inspiration? Explore more plant-based salad recipes here!