Toss It

Goodbye boring salad, hello beautiful.

Photos and styling by Fred + Elliott Photography

There are a few things that I know pretty much all very-healthy-people eat: cottage cheese, wasa crackers and that mainstay of dietary virtue, salads. All three come with a certain amount of side-eye from people who are passionate about food, but hear me out about the potential of a well-composed salad: The good ones can be like a good conversation—engaging, sustaining and full of surprises. When they are, they transform from the obligatory to the dish we crave.

Of course a boring garden salad with a ho-hum, store-bought dressing isn’t going to keep you committed to your healthy eating goals. It’s the rough equivalent of talking about the weather in an elevator filled with strangers. Instead, surround yourself (and fill your salad bowl) with what excites you. Here, we offer a few ideas to get you started, including the briny, oil-slicked ingredients of Spanish tapas; the fresh, crunchy components of a great Vietnamese bánh mì; and the zippy, sumac-spiked vegetables of a classic Israeli salad. 

Spanish Tapas

Gem lettuce and watercress host an assortment of tapas-inspired garnishes, including new potatoes, sweet roasted red bell peppers, blanched green beans, olives and marinated sardines. A simple dressing of sherry vinegar, paprika, lemon and good Spanish olive oil tie everything together with a bow.

Israeli Chopped

The trifecta of tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers are a familiar combination in the Israeli kitchen.Adding garbanzo beans lends protein to this vegan salad, which, though dressed in advance with red wine vinegar, sumac, mint and parsley, holds up well over time for a proper desk lunch or as a smart option for potlucks and picnics. 

Vietnamese Bánh Mì

Replace the crunch of this Vietnamese sandwich’s empty-calorie baguette with shredded cabbage, and then pile on thepickled daikon and carrot, shredded cucumbers, cilantro and a punch of jalapeño. A lean, thinly-sliced grilled pork tenderloin and a creamy dressing of Greek yogurt, cilantro and lime sing a harmony to the tune of bánh mì.

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