Salads are usually synonymous with “healthy“—but they’re not always that way! If you’re overloading your greens with creamy dressings, fried croutons, or a mountain of cheese, you can end up eating something that’s super high in calories and fat.
But these salad swaps from chefs can cut down on those calories and up the nutrition—while still getting a lot in terms of taste.
Instead of croutons, use…farro.
For his Grilled Octopus Salad, chef Blake Schumpert of 1200 Miles adds in chilled, cooked farro—a grain that delivers 8 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, and about 1.5 grams fat per serving. (Croutons are often fried and offer far less protein and fiber.) Schumpert also relies on preserved lemon to dress the salad, which delivers tartness minus the calories of many dressings.
Instead of cheese, use…horseradish.
Chef Jason Hall of The Fourth regularly grates horseradish on top of the restaurant’s Summer Vegetable Salad (which also contains greens, peas, and fava beans). His recipe has a little bit of ricotta in it too, but not much—the horseradish gives a strong, spicy flavor that most people ordinarily try to achieve with strong-tasting cheeses.
Instead of regular vinaigrette, use…walnut-sherry vinaigrette.
Tavern on the Green healthifies its Tavern Salad with walnut-aged sherry vinaigrette, which—thanks to its combination of mustard, spices, sherry vinegar, and olive and walnut oils—is lighter than traditional vinaigrette (about 25 calories vs. 45 calories per serving).