The Best 8 Superfoods to Spruce up Your Salads
As fellow salad lovers, we understand wanting to change up your meals with delicious toppings, greens and dressings. Now is the perfect time to start experimenting with some of your favorite flavors that satisfy your tastebuds. If you want to make your salads more fun, try adding superfoods that are both tasty and nutritious!
What are superfoods? Superfoods are high in nutrients compared to other healthy food options. You can eat them as snacks or add them to your favorite meals. The best superfoods include antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
Adding healthier and flavorful ingredients to your salads is easy when you know what superfoods to choose. Check out this list of our favorite superfoods to add to your salads!
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are the base of many salads. They’re certainly not a requirement, but they can add a nice texture and crunch. Integrating them into your salad is simple.
You have a wide selection of leafy greens to choose from. Use a variety to spruce up the texture and flavor of each salad. Green superfoods help you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs daily. These superfoods rank highly among the healthiest fruits and vegetables that you can try in your next meal.
The health benefits of eating leafy greens are some of the most impressive compared to the other food groups, including a decrease in the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and macular degeneration, an eye condition that causes blindness. Additionally, studies have also shown that multiple servings of these vegetables improve memory and other brain health.
Try adding these leafy green superfoods to your next salad:
- Kale: If you enjoy having lots of texture in your salads, kale is the perfect option with a rich flavor.
- Spinach: You can enjoy a cold or warm salad with the versatility and easy accessibility of spinach at almost any grocery store.
- Arugula: This green provides a peppery taste perfect for Italian-style salads.
- Romaine lettuce hearts: For a nutty flavor with added crunch, romaine is a tasty base for both sweet and savory salads.
- Bok choy: As one of the crunchier greens, bok choy is excellent with whole fruits and granola for a heartier salad.
- Collard greens: Since they pack a punch in protein and vitamins, collard greens are a healthy and delicious base for any salad.
- Mustard greens: Most salad lovers describe mustard greens as sweeter than kale and more peppery than arugula, making it an excellent base for various ingredients.
2. Berries and Other Fruits
Berries of all shapes and colors are rich in fiber and deliciously sweet. These small tasty fruits offer numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, preventing heart disease and diabetes, reducing inflammation and improving gut health.
Try these tasty superfood berries that pack a lot of flavor and great health benefits:
- Black or red raspberries
- Black elderberries
Fruity toppings can make customizing your salads more fun. Berries come in various textures and flavors ranging from sweet to sour, so you can have a different experience with each salad you eat.
Some berries have so much flavor that you won’t even need dressing! If you want fewer ingredients in your salad without losing the sweet taste that dressings can provide, berries could become your go-to ingredient.
Along with berries, you can use other fruits in larger portions. Fruits give your salads sweet flavors with several health benefits, including lowering inflammation and reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. You usually get even more benefits from whole fruits — fruits with edible skin, seeds and pulp.
If you enjoy other fruits, consider these options:
- Mandarin oranges
- Plums and prunes
- Grapes and raisins
A few slices of one or multiple fruits of your choice can give your salad the fiber and vitamins you need to fuel your day.
Avocados have become a healthy staple ingredient for almost every meal of the day. What might look like a common vegetable is actually a hearty fruit with a high concentration of healthy fats that our bodies need daily. Avocados also have fiber, minerals and 20 vitamins to energize our bodies, help us feel full and strengthen our bones.
Avocados offer a rich taste and soft texture to your salads. You can add sliced, cubed or mashed avocado to your salads. Some salad lovers even prefer to add avocados by making guacamole dressing with garlic, onions, salt, pepper and lime juice!
You can try pairing avocados with superfoods such as spinach. The fat in the avocado can help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in spinach.
Garlic is a surprisingly delicious option that goes well in most salad combinations. When you add garlic to your salad, you’ll enjoy the rich flavor and health benefits that make this option popular among salad enthusiasts.
Garlic provides several health benefits, such as improving heart health, boosting immunity and working as an anti-inflammatory. This simple ingredient can also reduce the bacteria that could lead to food poisoning, E. coli and salmonella.
Many people enjoy the creamy, rich flavor of garlic dressing over their leafy greens. You can add lemon, olive oil and red wine vinegar to mashed or roasted garlic to create a healthy vinaigrette. This rich dressing uses natural ingredients and infuses the savory flavor and health benefits of garlic in the oil.
However you choose to incorporate garlic into your next salad, it’ll add a boost of flavor and a range of health benefits to your meal.
5. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are your go-to choice for a small topping option that packs a high-nutrition punch. Both options are some of the most popular superfoods for snacks and toppings because of their impressive levels of protein, fiber, healthy fat and vitamin E content.
Eating a handful of nuts each week can reduce several health risks. Nuts are especially good for your heart, reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases, inflammation, high blood pressure and blood clots. With these health benefits in mind, you can add nuts to your salads to boost your energy and try new flavors for lunch and dinner.
Check out some superfood nuts that offer a range of health benefits:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Seeds have fairly similar nutritious properties as nuts, such as high fiber, iron, healthy fats, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium. Even just a few ounces of seeds in your meals can also help prevent muscle weakness and inflammation and lower cholesterol. Besides the many health benefits of these small superfoods, they also taste delicious in salads and offer a crunchy texture to pair with your leafy greens and soft fruits.
Much like nuts, there are many seed options out there to choose from, such as:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Hemp seeds
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a simple and delicious superfood that you can add to your favorite salads. This tasty ingredient is an incredible superfood rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fats, and makes for a great healthy dressing option.
If you add extra-virgin olive oil to your meals and salads, you can enjoy incredible health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes and prevention of heart diseases. Many salad lovers enjoy creamy dressings for their greens, but olive oil with vinegar is an excellent alternative. Olive oil dressings still have a rich base but fewer carbohydrates and salt than most salad dressings. Two common vinegars to pair with olive oil are balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar.
Olive oil doesn’t have a very strong flavor on its own, but it does strengthen the flavor of the other ingredients in the salad! This factor makes olive oil a delicious dressing base if you want a healthy option without the dull taste of some ingredients. Instead, you can enjoy a dressing that enriches the greens, fruits, cheeses and additional toppings so you can get as much flavor as you want in your favorite salads.
Nothing says healthy topping quite like mushrooms! These little superfoods are excellent vegan or vegetarian alternatives to meat options because of their rich umami flavors. If you’re looking for a hearty, non-meat option, mushrooms offer plenty of nutrients.
Mushrooms are a good source of fiber, protein, iron and antioxidants, especially for their small portion sizes. These ingredients can energize your body and mind without leaving you feeling too full after your salad.
Even just a few mushrooms each day can give you several health benefits. You may notice improved brain and gut health, lower cholesterol and sodium intake and increased vitamins D and B6. Eating mushrooms can also lower your risk of cancer and help maintain a healthy immune system.
There are plenty of mushroom types you can try:
- Lion’s mane
- Oyster and king oyster
- White button
Preparing mushrooms as a topping to your salad is relatively quick and easy. Some people simply cut the mushrooms in half and add them to their salads raw. Raw mushrooms are perfect for you if you love lightweight and fresh options for your meals. Other salad lovers slice the mushrooms into thin pieces and fry them in olive oil. This simple step offers more savory flavors in mushrooms, so your salad tastes meatier.
Beets boast more than a vibrant red-purple color — they’re packed with health benefits. Beets have antioxidants, a substance that fights cell damage in the body and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Beets are unlike other vegetables because they include betalains. This antioxidant is responsible for the vibrant color, reduces inflammation and can even help protect against cancer and other diseases.
The benefits of beets don’t stop there. In fact, these superfood vegetables also include nitric oxide. This compound increases blood flow in your muscles and supports healthy heart and lung function. The widening and relaxation of your blood vessels also lowers blood pressure.
Other beneficial compounds and vitamins found in beets include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
While beets can provide plenty of health benefits, they can also introduce a wide variety of flavors to your salad. These vegetables have a sweet, earthy taste and pleasant crunch when eaten raw. Some people also enjoy beets cooked or pickled.
Beets pair well with many different proteins like fish and chicken. They also complement hard-boiled eggs in a salad. Topping your salad with a lemon vinaigrette adds a nice citrus contrast to the beet’s earthy flavor.
How you incorporate beets into your next salad is up to you. Just remember that the vibrant color can stain fingers and clothes. Wear an apron and gloves when you chop them up.
Browse Delicious Salad Options at Salata
At Salata Salad Kitchen, we have everything you need to make your dream salad or wrap with fresh fruits and vegetables. We offer a wide selection of toppings, dressings, lettuce and additional ingredients for your salad or wrap order, so you can create the perfect meal to satisfy your taste buds. With our unique menu filled with nutritious options, you can stop in for a tasty entrée that includes all food groups. We offer more than 50 fresh toppings, including superfoods like avocados, cranberries, almonds and mushrooms, and 11 housemade dressings.
With our interactive nutrition builder, you can create a delicious and healthy entrée that fits your needs! Customize your wrap, small or regular salad and add a soup, croissant or dessert to complement the fresh flavors of your meal.
Create your superfood salad today at one of our Salata locations or order right to your doorstep with our mobile app. Your new favorite meal is only a click away!