Among nature’s most perfect foods, fruits are a quick, easy and healthy way to upgrade your salad bowl. In addition to their superior nutrition, the deliciously tart and sweet flavors of different fruits help to balance out the bitterness of certain vegetables in salads making them more palatable – and just a little can make a world of difference. You have many options when it comes to the types of fruits you can use. Here are five top choices for building your bowl.
When it comes to salad making, the versatility of citrus fruits is unmatchable. While orange varieties make great toppers, lemon and lime juices can bring homemade dressings to life. Citrus fruits themselves are exceptionally high in vitamin C and countless phytonutrients that help ward off numerous chronic diseases and common ailments like the common cold and even flu viruses. They also help the body better absorb dietary calcium and other vital minerals.
For a whopping dose of fresh citrus flavors along with a hint of heat, try our “Spicy Shrimp Salad with Habanero and Citrus Dressing.”
Whether blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries or raspberries, all berries bring great flavors and unique texture to salads. Plus, they’re just plain ole good for you. As berries are naturally high in vitamin C, flavonoids and other antioxidants, they are known to support heart health, bone strength, diabetes management, cancer prevention and even mental health. Dried berries come with loads of benefits too so feel free to include them in your bowl.
Try our “Very Berrylicious Spinach Salad” to experience all the bittersweet flavors and health benefits berries have to offer.
You can bring a whole lot of flavor and texture to practically any salad bowl with fresh apples. Whether you enjoy sweet or tart apples, you’ll get a huge dose of nutrition too! Apples are chock-full of powerful antioxidants known to help stave off disease. But the apple’s main claim to fame is its rich content of pectin, which is a type of fiber. Largely owing to pectin, eating apples naturally supports intestinal balance, reduces blood sugar levels and promotes heart health.
For a double dose of sweet and tart apples and a little some of everything else, try our “Ultimate Salad Bowl” recipe.
With their tangy flavors and firm textures, tomatoes make excellent salad toppers. You might be surprised to see tomatoes grouped with fruits. Though commonly considered vegetables, tomatoes are in fact fruits. Whether cherry, grape, roma, beefsteak or vine, they’re all juicy, sweet and packed with heart-healthy, cancer-fighting nutrients. Notably, tomatoes are rich in fiber and phytonutrient antioxidants like lycopene, which gives them their bright red colors.
In addition to topping your salad with tomatoes in whole form, you can enjoy all their tangy deliciousness in our “Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing.”
Here at That Salad Lady, we’re huge fans of fat. So, what better way to round out this list than with fatty fruits, specifically avocado and olives. In whole form, avocado and olives bring rich savory flavors to the bowl while their oils are incredibly versatile for making homemade dressings and for cooking other salad toppers. Though calorie dense due to their fat content, both are packed with health-promoting monounsaturated fat and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Try our “No-Cook Chickpea Salad” and experience all the savory goodness of avocado in whole form and olives in the form of extra-virgin olive oil.
And there you have it – five must-have fruits to build your bowl with.
Now, this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list as there are many other fruits that you can choose from. Just be sure to count your colors. As with most plant-based foods, you’ll get the most nutrients from deeply colored fruits. One more thing: If you’re building your bowl with dried fruits, always monitor your portions. Though dried fruits offer good nutrition, they’re also relatively high in sugar (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn why this matters).