For single portions or a fun family approach, pack salads into mason jars—not big ones, since the fork has to reach the bottom! (photo California Avocados).
 Spinach and bacon layered salad layered with peas, red bell pepper and cheddar, with ranch dressing (photo courtesy Kraft).
 Classic layered salad with blue cheese dressing. A year-round favorite, in the winter, exchange the chopped tomatoes for pimento or red bell pepper.
 Add protein for a luncheon salad; here, ham and hard-boiled eggs (photo courtesy McCormick).
 Cruciferous layered salad: broccoli and cauliflower florets with leafy crucifers—arugula, kale, mustard greens, etc.—and ranch dressing (photo courtesy Hidden Valley).
 Beans and grains combine in this tasty salad. The recipe is below (photo courtesy Whole Foods Market).
We’re two days into winter, it’s gray outside and the produce department of our supermarket isn’t providing much inspiration.
A solution: layered salad. Layering the ingredients in a glass bowl provides an more eye-appealing presentation for crunchy, good-for-you ingredients.
For red color, skip the out-of-season tomatoes and choose from beets, mild red peppers (Anaheim, Italian sweet chili peppers), peppadews, pimento, radishes, radicchio, red bell pepper, red cabbage, red grapefruit, red onions, red potatoes or sundried tomatoes…and perhaps a garnish of pomegranate arils.
A yellow or orange layer is also welcome: canned corn, carrots, orange or yellow bell peppers, sweet potatoes, winter squash, yellow beets…and cheddar cheese.
And toss in the other ingredients groups below. You’ll have an eye-appealing, nutritious treat instead of the same old salad.
Arugula or watercress
Romaine or other lettuce
Shredded cabbage mix
Salad mix of choice
1. PICK YOUR BASE
Shredded cheddar, jack or mix
2. ADD A CHEESE
Grains: barley, farro, quinoa
Beans: black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans or other favorite
Other legumes: chickpeas, edamame, lentils, peas
3. ADD A GRAIN OR LEGUME
Grapes (ideally red or purple seedless)
Mandarin or orange segments, grapefruit segments
4. ADD A FRUIT
5. SALAD IDEAS
Think beyond your regular salad ingredient combinations. Add to your base greens of choice (or eliminate the base greens as desired):
Apple, sliced/shaved brussels sprouts, walnuts
Butternut squash cubes, red quinoa, collard greens, parsley, peppadews, goat cheese
Cruciferous salad: arugula or watercress, broccoli and cauliflower florets, radishes, shredded red cabbage, and ranch dressing (photo #5)
Mesclun mix, grape or sundried tomatoes, burrata, crumbled sausage, black beans
Mesclun mix, barley, pink grapefruit, brussels sprouts, beets, walnuts
Pear, gorgonzola, dried cranberries, pecans
Roasted squash, kale, farro, dried cranberries
Romaine, kidney beans, taco chips, scallions, shredded cheddar or jack
Spinach, beets, black-eyed peas, goat cheese, walnuts
Spinach, red grapefruit, beets, barley, arugula
Steak salad with spinach, roasted squash, dried cranberries and burrata
Bacon or sausage
Canned tuna or sardines
Cubed chicken, ham, turkey
Grilled fish or seafood
Grilled lamb, pork, steak
6. FOR A MAIN COURSE SALAD, ADD:
7. PICK A DRESSING
Your favorite dressing is the right dressing. Our favorites include:
Blue cheese or ranch dressing
Honey mustard vinaigrette
Warm bacon vinaigrette (or warm your regular vinaigrette)
RECIPE: BARLEY & BEAN SALAD WITH HERB PESTO
You can skip the salad greens and serve a grain and bean salad, with a pesto dressing to stand in for the greens (photo #6).
We adapted this recipe from Whole Foods Market.
For the Salad
3/4 cup pearl barley or other grain of choice
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt added pinto beans, drained
2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2/3 cup canned corn
1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped kale (about 1 large leaf)
3 cloves roasted garlic (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup walnut halves
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For The Herb Pesto Dressing