The Runner’s Perfect Salad Formula
I am not a huge fan of salads. There, I said it. I envy the people who truly enjoy a good salad and can eat one more than once a week, but in reality that is just not me. With that said, I do try to make a salad for dinner at least once every week to two weeks, especially during the summer when the produce is fresh. To me, a good salad has a lot of variety in it and more toppings than greens; if I had my way, each time I would have a giant Cobb salad, packed with a ton of toppings! The problem with that is when you only have one giant Cobb salad a week, the majority of the toppings end up getting thrown away.
What I have started doing is using a basic “formula” I created for a salad that lets me use whatever leftover pantry ingredients I have at the time rather than buying new ingredients at the store. I’m calling it a formula rather than a recipe because you can really mix and match the ingredients that go into your salad, and there really isn’t any set quantities of the items; it’s really your own personal preference! I’ve noticed that when I use this specific formula, the salads end up being satisfying & filling, yet I don’t end up throwing out the leftover ingredients. The other big money saver I do is that I create my own dressing. It is as simple as measuring out the pantry ingredients, putting them in a mason jar, and shaking until they are combined!
Below I have given my salad formula, a basic balsamic vinaigrette recipe, and some examples of how I’ve used the formula.
The Runner’s Perfect Salad formula
- Greens (Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, green leaf lettuce, etc.)
- Protein (Chicken breast, shrimp, steak, chickpeas, tofu, hard boiled egg, etc.)
- Sweet element (Strawberries, tomatoes, dried cranberries, sun-dried tomatoes, blueberries, apple, pear, etc.)
- Crunch element (Walnuts, almonds, croutons, sunflower seeds, pita chips, etc.)
- Cheese (Goat cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, etc.)
- Homemade dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
Time: 2 minutes
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp coarse dijon mustard
½-1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper in a jar. With the lid secured, shake the jar until the dressing is combined.
Taste the dressing and add salt if needed.
Shake the dressing again before serving. You can store this directly in the jar in the refrigerator but after a few days, the olive oil will solidify in the cooler temperature. Simply warm it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds then shake again before serving.
This first example has a spring mix for the greens, boneless skinless chicken breast for the protein, diced apple for the sweet element, walnuts for the crunch element, and feta cheese for the cheese.
To quickly cook chicken breast, use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken breasts thinner.
Dice the apple right before serving to avoid it turning brown.
This second example has a spring mix for the greens, roasted shrimp for the protein, strawberries for the sweet element, sliced almonds for the crunch element, and goat cheese for the cheese.
Shrimp can be cooked extremely quickly on a sheet pan in the oven.
This final example has romaine lettuce for the greens, steak for the protein, cherry tomatoes for the sweet element, homemade garlic croutons for the crunch element, and fresh mozzarella for the cheese.
For this final salad, I added about 1 tsp of dried basil to the dressing for extra flavor.