When people think of something to eat on a hot summer’s evening, a salad often springs to mind. It is usually a cooling dish, full of juicy vegetables, which is just what your body needs when coping with hot temperatures. However, salads aren’t just for the summer. They can be eaten all year round, either as a main course or a side dish. All you need to do is think beyond the idea that salads have to contain cucumber, lettuce, tomato and onion.
Salads don’t have to include lettuce
Many people can only stomach the idea of a salad in the summer because they presume it is going to be packed with lettuce or other types of green leaves – something that is often only appealing when it is too hot to eat much else. Nevertheless, there is no reason why a salad has to contain a large amount of leaves and even if it does, it doesn’t have to be lettuce. Try bulking up your salad with something else, such as roast vegetables, fish, meat, rice, pasta, beans and anything else that takes your fancy. That way, it will seem far more appealing on a cold winter’s night when something stodgy would otherwise seem to be in order.
Salads can be warm
The presumption is often that a salad is cold, but it doesn’t have to be. Poached salmon on wilted greens, flavored with vinaigrette, makes a delicious main course at any time of the year. You can also char-grill vegetables or chicken to mix into a salad, or add in just-cooked pasta or rice. Look for ideas on the Internet, or simply play around with the ingredients that your family likes.
Salads can be a good accompaniment for spicy dishes
There’s nothing more comforting than a spicy bean chilli during the winter months. The same goes for curry — of any variety. However, sometimes it can be a little bit too spicy, so having something cooling to accompany it is a great idea. Indian curries are often accompanied by raita for precisely that reason. Try something along the same lines, or make up your own salad accompaniment with plenty of thirst-quenching, cooling vegetables.
Salads can be filling
Salads are popular during the summer because they are considered light and refreshing, which is much needed in hot weather. However, salads can be refreshing and filling at the same time, something which you may enjoy during cold, dry spells in particular. In order to ensure you feel full, add protein in the form of meat, fish, or beans to your salad. Whether it is warm or not can depend on how you feel on the day.
Salads are generally healthy
It is easy to presume that a salad is bound to be a healthy meal option when, in fact, you can add an enormous amount of calories and fat just in the form of the dressing. A tuna pasta salad mixed with full-fat mayonnaise, for example, isn’t going to be all that good for a diet, even if it does taste great. However, if you bear in mind the fat content of the ingredients that you are adding to the salad, you should be able to come up with a healthy, nutritious meal with very little difficulty, something that is ideal for any time of the year. Don’t worry if your usual salad vegetables aren’t available – just work with the fresh vegetables that you have on hand.
When you’re looking for something tasty to eat, whether it is summer or winter, it is worth considering a healthy salad. Just don’t undo the health benefits of a fresh salad by covering it in fatty dressings and by overdoing the cheese.