Here at That Salad Lady, we’re absolute suckers for a good salad bowl recipe. We especially love out of the box recipes that go beyond uninspired “garden” blends topped with dressing from a jar.
Sometimes we just need to rethink our perceptions of different foods and combinations. In fact, That Salad Lady has converted some of the biggest salad skeptics and transformed even the pickiest eaters with a single bowl recipe that’s been fine-tuned over the years.
It is the resulting “Ultimate Salad Bowl” recipe that actually earned our founder, Nina, the name That Salad Lady. It’s what set her on a path to prove that every bowl is an opportunity to build a new layer of wellness.
Not Your Average Salad Bowl
The Ultimate Salad Bowl is not the type of dish you’ll find on a restaurant menu. If it were, you’d probably order it.
It’s the perfect blend of tart, sweet and savory – even for the vegetable averse – as the ingredient combination itself helps mask some of the bitter tastes. Packed full of flavor and unbelievably filling, this vibrant salad bowl houses over a day’s worth of veggies and fruits along with hefty amounts of healthy fats and good protein.
It’s also man and kid approved.
Though it might look a bit complicated, the Ultimate Salad Bowl is incredibly easy to make. The prep time is relatively lengthy (roughly 45 minutes) but once the salad is put together, it makes enough for multiple bowls to eat over multiple days or to feed multiple people.
The finished product is worth the time it would take for your Postmates order to arrive anyway (and without the guilt).
THE BALANCING ACT
One of the reasons we’re so obsessed with salad creations is that each ingredient can potentially balance another one out. A single ingredient can even improve the flavor and overall nutritional value of your whole salad bowl.
If we were to just give you a day’s worth of vegetables, it likely wouldn’t satisfy your need for something that tastes delicious and doesn’t leave you raiding your fridge after. Here at That Salad Lady, we want you to understand why each ingredient matters.
So, what’s in the Ultimate Salad Bowl recipe and why?
The Veggie Effect
As with most salad bowls, vegetables are the foundation of the Ultimate Salad Bowl recipe. It includes a colorful array of bell peppers, red onion, broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber. All these ingredients add their own special layer of nutrition to the bowl (visit our Nutrition Glossary to see how).
The Natural Sweeteners
Aside from adding superior nutrition, the deliciously tart and sweet flavors of the apples (and their skins) help balance out the bitterness of the vegetables, especially when combined with dried cranberries.
While dried cranberries can be a good source of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, they’re also packed full of sugar. That’s actually why they’re included here. Their natural sweetness, along with apples, negates the need for salad dressing – as does the avocado included. The creamy, nutty, almost buttery flavor of avocado is also great for balancing out the bitterness of veggies.
The Nuts and Seeds We Didn’t Know We Needed
Unless you’re allergic to certain nuts or seeds, we highly recommend adding them to the Ultimate Salad Bowl. Besides offering amazing nutritional value, it’s just something about the unique flavor and texture they bring to the mix.
That Salad Lady encourages us to top off our salad bowls with chia seeds. In addition to boosting nutrition, chia seeds can actually enhance the fat burning potential of a dish.
Adding chia seeds also provides a substantial dose of fiber and health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have strong satiating (or filling) effects. The same is true for nuts, which are packed with fiber and healthy fats as well.
You can use a combination of walnuts, almonds and pecans, but just one or two types will suffice. While you can easily add the nuts in raw form, we suggest ‘candying’ them with That Salad Lady’s signature honey-based glaze for even more amazing flavor.
GET YOUR CHOP ON
The Ultimate Salad Bowl recipe calls for chopping most of the base ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Apologies folks – food choppers and mincers won’t work. Needless to say, chopping is the most time-consuming step. It’s okay. It’s good practice! Just use a high-quality chef’s knife. This knife is designed to make the process of chopping veggies and fruits an absolute breeze.
We suggest chopping everything but the avocado in one take, as avocado tastes better when it’s freshly cut. Once the veggies and fruits are chopped up, combine them all in a large colander, rinse and shake up the mix well for a nice, even distribution of colors and then transfer the whole mixture to a large salad bowl.
From there, let the mixture chill in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients – you can even store this overnight.
BUILD YOUR SALAD BOWL
Now, it’s time to build your bowl. Chop up the avocado and add it to the chilled mix, throw in the candied or plain nuts, and then top it all off with sprinkles of dried cranberries and chia seeds. Consider this to be the basic Ultimate Salad Bowl blend!
From here on out, it’s all about your personal preferences. Double your salad bowl portions and eat less meals or store the basic blend (minus the avocado, dried cranberries and chia seeds) in the fridge and spread out your bowls to eat over the course of multiple days.
All put together, the actual blend is large enough for 4-6 generous sized portions at about 400-600 calories each. That includes all ‘optional’ ingredients noted in the recipe.
No dressing is needed for the basic Ultimate Salad Bowl blend, as it’s naturally sweet. If you must have dressing, use That Salad Lady’s honey mustard blend. You can even make your own dressing by whisking some extra-virgin olive oil with freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices. This simple combination of ingredients can really bring out the salad’s natural flavors.
If you’re planning for leftovers, it’s best to add dressing to each individual salad bowl as opposed to mixing it in with the whole salad blend. The veggies and fruits will quickly get soggy and you won’t be as happy with your creation the next day.
Add Your Finishing Touches
Make it your Ultimate Salad Bowl recipe by adding your own finishing touches to the basic blend. The more you add, the more fun it’ll be to eat. So, create a fun-filled eating experience for yourself.
If you want to include leafy greens, some great choices include kale, spinach, and traditional salad greens like arugula, romaine and loose-leaf lettuces. The darker the greens, the more nutritious. That Salad Lady recommends adding leafy greens on a bowl-by-bowl basis. They have a tendency to get soggy with prolonged storage.
Don’t forget to visit our Nutrition Glossary so you can confidently choose the best greens for you.
To boost the protein content and filling effect of your salad bowl, throw in a handful of chopped chicken breast, cooked shrimp, hard-boiled eggs or even roasted extra-firm tofu. Once again, don’t forget about our Nutrition Glossary as it’s all about making YOU confident in building YOUR bowl.
Here at That Salad Lady, we like to add Gorgonzola cheese and bacon as well when we’re craving a richer, more savory flavor. All put together, the Ultimate Salad Bowl is huge. Our founder, Nina, generally eats hers over the course of two days, as she only eats one large meal a day.
It’s all about building a bowl that works best for YOU.
SHOW US YOUR BOWL
That Salad Lady wants to see your bowl! If you like it, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
The Ultimate Salad Bowl RecipeCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Moderate
Packed with flavor, unbelievably filling and kid approved, this colorful salad bowl recipe houses a day’s worth of veggies and fruits with plenty of healthy fats and good protein.
- Basic Salad Blend
4 medium bell peppers (multiple colors including red, orange, yellow and/or green), cored, sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 large red onion, sliced and chopped or diced
1 head broccoli or 3 1/2 cups florets, stems and leaves removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4 to 1/2 head of cauliflower or 2 cups of florets, stems and leaves removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 medium cucumber with skin, seeded,* sliced and chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, sliced and chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 large or 2 small Fuji apples, cored, sliced and chopped into bite-sized cubes
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 cup dried cranberries or Craisins®
1-1/2 cup nuts (multiple types including walnuts, almonds and/or pecans; see additional ingredients and recipe linked below for ‘optional’ honey-based glaze)**
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles (optional)***
8 strips of bacon, pan-fried or oven-baked, sliced and chopped into tiny bits (optional)****
- Honey-Based Glaze (Optional)
3 tablespoons pure, raw and unfiltered honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 orange
- Combine chopped peppers, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and apples in a large colander or similar dish.
- Rinse and ‘shake up’ the mix well for an even distribution of colors and then transfer the mixture to a large salad bowl.
- Cover the bowl and let the mixture chill until remaining ingredients are prepared or even overnight.
- For candied nuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare the honey-based glaze as per the recipe. The nuts should ‘candy’ within 15 minutes.
- Add chopped avocado to the chilled vegetable and fruit mix.
- Toss in plain or cooled candied nuts along with cheese and bacon, if using.
- Top the blend with sprinkles of dried cranberries and chia seeds.
- *Scrape out cucumber seeds to avoid watering down the salad bowl.
- **Do not add nuts if you have a nut allergy.
- ***Whether you use Gorgonzola or blue cheese, both bring rich, earthy flavor and a good dose of pure protein to the bowl. Gorgonzola has a milder taste and softer texture than blue cheese which tends to be harder and crumblier.
- ****Use whatever type of bacon you prefer. We generally use turkey bacon as the additional salt enhances the flavor of the salad bowl.
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach and traditional salad greens make great additions to the blend. Add them on a bowl-by-bowl basis, as they tend to get soggy when stored.
- To boost the protein content and filling effect of your bowl, throw in a handful of chopped chicken breast, cooked shrimp or even roasted extra-firm tofu. Chopping up or shredding the breasts of a precooked rotisserie chicken can be delicious, cost-effective and time efficient.
- If you must have dressing, try our honey mustard blend. You can even make your own dressing by whisking some extra-virgin olive oil with freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices. This nutrition-boosting combination can really bring out the salad’s natural flavors.
- The noted calorie count applies to six generous-sized portions with ‘optional’ ingredients but without dressing. Depending on your eating style, you can double your portions and eat less meals or store the basic blend (minus the avocado, dried cranberries and chia seeds) in the fridge and eat multiple bowls over the course of multiple days.