Easy maple mustard dressing:
1/4 c vinegar (I recommend apple cider but you can also use red wine or balsamic)
1/4 c oil (olive, grapeseed)
1/4 c mustard (the good stuff, not the neon yellow kind!)
1-2 T maple syrup
1-2 tsp fresh-squeezed lime or lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and dress your salad!
Greens: Start by filling a large bowl mostly full with the greens. I like spinach the best but you can do kale, romaine lettuce, mixed greens, etc.
Veggies: add your favorite veggies, or whatever is in your fridge: cucumbers, celery, bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or green), radishes, carrots, mushrooms, etc.
Avocado: a must for any entree salad in my book. If you are making a side salad you can skip it or go easy on the avo since it’s so filling. It is full of delicious healthy fats and being so filling makes it perfect for entree salads! Add 1/2 avocado per person for entree salad, less for side salad.
Protein: Beans (chickpeas or black beans, or really any bean!) or soy (edamame, tofu or tempeh). I like adding baked or steamed tempeh to my salads. Marinated grilled tofu is also delicious in salad. (Omit if doing Raw, just add more raw nuts/ seeds)
Nuts & seeds: I love to throw in roasted or raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds. This is a must if you are not adding tofu/ tempeh/ beans since it gives you a protein boost and it adds some healthy fats, a lot of nutrition (did you know pumpkin seeds are loaded with iron??) and tons of flavor!
Extra Goodies: Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries), chopped apples, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichokes, hearts of palm, leftover cooked quinoa, leftover potatoes
Top with your favorite dressing and enjoy!
If you are watching your calories or trying to lose weight, keep this in mind: you can go crazy with the greens and veggies, but watch your amounts of the higher calorie elements such as soy products, beans, nuts seeds, and avocado, and go easy on the dressing.
Experiment and have fun! You will be amazed how exciting salad can be!