10 Essential Salad Ingredients

With the right ingredients, TOSSED SALADS are a great way to maximize your nutrition, and they can be enjoyable and filling. Here’s my checklist for optimizing a salad.

1. Leafy Greens like Romaine lettuce, butler lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula (rocket), or butter lettuce

2. Something Crunchy like celery, carrots, jicama, radish, apple, broccoli, cauliflower, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts

3. Something Savory (umami) like onions, mushrooms, arugula, asparagus, or tomatoes

4. Something Salty like kale or celery

5. Something Sweet like corn, grapes, watermelon, apple, or berries

6. Citrus like lemon or lime juice adds a sour complement to the sweetness and enables absorption of iron.

7. Starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corns, rice, quinoa, squash, black beans, & edamame will help you feel full and satisfied.

8. Healthy Fats like avocado, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, almonds, and walnuts, allow the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

9. Flax Seeds are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, contain powerful cancer cancer-fighting lignans, & help control cholesterol. Physician and Public health specialist Dr. Michael Greger recommends one tablespoon of flax seeds a day. They also add a pleasant nutty flavor to salads.

Salad prep and dressing
Weekly salad prep and applesauce dressing – Yum!

10. A Healthy Dressing can add a lot of flavor and sometimes a creaminess to the salad. A dressing could include other flavors on this list. For example, my berry-infused Balsamic vinegar and applesauce dressing both count as Something Sweet. Roasted garlic dressing counts as Something Savory. This Dijon-lime dressing covers the Citrus ingredient.

I recommend maximizing the leafy greens, and using a single serving of healthy fats, e.g., 6 walnut halves or 1/4 avocado. (Note that a Tbsp of flax seed also provides 4.3 grams of fat.) Otherwise, enjoy as much or as little as you want. We all prefer different vegetables, tastes, and textures, so I hope you enjoy making a variety of salads with your favorite combinations.


  1. I’m glad I found this site. I’m on a similar journey, only mine is for my hemiplegic migraines. I recently switched when my prescription bill hit $3,000 a month (that’s after my insurance pays, if they pay at all). I’m also working to get my dad to change his diet habits, but it’s a work in progress since he lives far from me. Good luck on your journey. I’m rooting for you!

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