For many of us, 2017 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2018! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks, and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.

So sad salad days can be behind you, here’s a vegetarian salad-building formula for one person that will save your health goals and make sure you never grow tired of salad again. In fact, you might even crave it. The hardest part of sticking to healthier eating habits is keeping things interesting, but lucky for you, this how-to does just that.

greens

Any greens work with this particular salad formula, though baby spinach tends to be the best contender due to its neutral flavor. Feel free to mix kale or a handful of peppery arugula into the mix and, if you’re looking for extra nutrients, throw some vegetable confetti (AKA microgreens) over that bad boy. They’re small, but they’re mighty.

Dried or Fresh Fruit

About one to two tablespoons of dried cranberries, raisins, or roughly chopped dates add the perfect amount of sweetness to a salad. You can also slice up some apples, pears, or grapes for a crisp and refreshing bite. Can’t decide between dried or fresh? Do both.

Though we’re kind of snubbing fresh vegetables with this formula and trading them in for fruits, we make exceptions for things like warm roasted squash or earthy beets. Because how could we not?

tangy cheese

Cheese often gets a bad rap, but with tangy cheeses like feta and goat, a little goes a long way. Feta and goat cheeses are lower in fat and calories than most other cheeses, so go ahead and crumble some of that good stuff over your greens sans guilt. The tanginess of these cheeses goes swimmingly with the sweetness of the fruit and the punch of the red onions.

Red Onions, Always

Red onions are the *perfect* salad onion. They’re much milder and sweeter than other onions and won’t leave you with that dreaded “onion breath” that white onions do. The punchiness plays really well with the tang from feta and goat cheese as well as the sweetness from the fruit. Though you could skip out on it, we think it really ties the salad together. Shallots are also a great option.

Crunchy Texture

Having a nice crunchy texture in a salad is oh-so-satisfying — especially when you have a soft cheese in the mix! You can snag candied nuts that are made specifically for salads, but we think plain ol’ nuts are the way to go. Toasted or not, walnuts, almonds, and pecans are fabulous salad toppers.

HomeMade Vinaigrettes

Grabbing a bottle of salad dressing off the shelf at the supermarket might seem more convenient, but making your own really isn’t that hard. In a homemade dressing, you’ll be getting much greater flavor and no icky additives. Whisking together simple ingredients like your fave vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, and a pinch of salt will leave you with a delicious drizzle. Play around with recipes and taste as you go. You’ll be a dressing master in NO time.

oh, the possibilities!

Are your gears turning yet? Here are some examples of salads we love digging into:

  • pear and walnut salad with feta cheese, dried cranberries, red onions, and a balsamic vinaigrette
  • apple and pecan salad with goat cheese, red onions, and an apple cider vinaigrette
  • mandarin orange and almond salad with goat cheese, raisins, red onions, and a red wine vinaigrette

What is your most crave-worthy salad medley? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Illustrations via Rebecca Fong)