Updated: Apr 16, 2019
As a full time nutrition student, I often find myself faced with preparing food for long days between school and other commitments, and like many people; I can grow tired of eating the same meals. An additional challenge for me is finding nutritious meals that are portable for these on-the-go days; my solution to this is the salad bowl.
I consider this more of a formula than a strict recipe, as I use rough measurements and whatever I have in the fridge - reducing food waste while increasing variety in each bowl. The four components are the base for each bowl, and can be tailored depending on your dietary needs. This recipe is just one example to give you some inspiration; experiment with your favourite greens and veggies for something you will truly enjoy eating. I also love to top with tofu to increase the amount of protein in these lunches, which helps keep me satiated - Soyganic’s smoked extra firm tofu is one of my favourites.
1. leafy greens
Whatever you have goes, but kale, chard, or cabbage keep well throughout the day thanks to their firm texture, as compared to more delicate leafy greens, so you can prep a few bowls in advance for the week. Chard is an extremely versatile, local vegetable, a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and magnesium, to name a few. Magnesium in particular is an important mineral, as its deficiency can be associated to anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and is a mineral deficiency commonly undiagnosed and unnoticed.
2. colourful steamed vegetables Some of my favourites are beets, squash and sweet potato. The bright orange of sweet potato comes from the beta-carotene content; which has antioxidant benefits, and is transformed into Vitamin A in the body; supporting vision and the immune system.
3. cooked grains or legumes
This could be in the form of lentils, quinoa or brown rice. These low glycemic-index carbohydrates will be digested more slowly, but also provide more fibre and mineral value than their refined counterparts.
4. nuts or seeds Topping your bowl off with nuts or seeds provide a crunchy texture, plus essential fatty acids.
5. salad dressings Your typical store-bought dressings are, in most cases, just addition of extra calories without extra nutritional benefit; however a homemade dressing can be a way to really liven up your lunch. I have included a recipe for one of my favourite creamy dressings; it takes just a few minutes to make and contains essential fats to assist in the absorption of the beta-carotene from the sweet potato.
Ingredients (serves 1)
1 cup Swiss chard (thinly sliced)
1 cup red cabbage (thinly sliced)
½ cup sweet potato (cubed, steamed)
½ cup quinoa (cooked)
½ tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1/3 package Soyganic smoked extra firm tofu
Dressing (serves 4)
½ cup pine nuts (soaked, drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon miso paste
½ lemon, juiced
Directions – Dressing
Soak pine nuts in water (1:2 ratio) overnight or at least for half an hour, then strain and rinse
Blend pine nuts, lemon juice, and miso paste in blender with ¼ cup warm water until creamy; if necessary add more water until you achieve a smooth consistency
Add salt, pepper and cayenne powder to taste
Lastly, I have a few tips for packing of these salad bowls, since the tendency for salads to get soggy is often a deterrent for choosing them for work or school lunches.
Store your dressing in a separate, smaller container and then mix just prior to eating
Re-purpose a medium sized jar, and add the dressing first before other ingredients so it stays at the bottom of the jar, then shake to mix before eating
Swap your greens: Hardier greens like kale, hold up really well if mixed with dressing right away; they really seem to absorb flavours of dressing easily but keep their texture over time, so if you don’t want to fuss with extra containers, swapping your greens may be an option
Nutrition Information per serving Calories: 420, Total Carbohydrates: 33g, Fibre 7g, Sugar 8g, Protein 11g, Fat 28g