The ketogenic diet offers plenty of benefits, such as reduced glucose levels, cholesterol levels, and weight loss. If you’re on the keto diet, you may always be looking for new recipes to try. Trying out a variety of different keto-friendly salads is a simple way to stay within the diet’s restrictions while enjoying different flavors.
Keto-Friendly Salad Bases
The keto diet restricts carbohydrate intake, making salads (sans croutons) the perfect meal because the most common salad bases have very few carbs. These power-packed leafy vegetables provide robust support as well as the crunch that makes salads so good:
- Spinach– Packed with vitamins, this leafy vegetable can help strengthen your immune system. Rich in vitamins A and C, spinach can help you feel fuller for longer.
- Lettuce– This salad vegetable is known for its high water content and may help to regulate blood sugar. The lettuce also has less than five grams of net carbs, making it extremely keto-friendly.
- Kale- This winter vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin C and may help to aid weight loss.
- Cabbage– Cabbage is rich in antioxidants and is also an excellent source of fiber.
- Arugula- Arugula is another rich source of antioxidants, iron, and copper. Plus, arugula has a potent flavor that adds a bit of a kick to your salad.
Keto-friendly Salad Add-ins
Now that you have your base, you can pack in more nutrients (and flavors) with keto-friendly add-ins. You want to avoid anything with significant carb contents, such as croutons, quinoa, potatoes, and beets. Instead, try any of the following:
- Meat– Adding chicken or bacon bits in moderation would help in adding body to your mixture.
- Vegetables- Add in broccoli, bell peppers, and tomatoes for more antioxidants and nutrients.
- Nuts– Almonds, pecan, walnuts, and pine nuts are all packed with monounsaturated fats and, in moderation, may boost your ketones.
- Seeds- Sunflower, sesame, chia, and flax seeds are excellent sources for omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eggs-Eggs are an ideal choice for a keto diet because they are low in carbs and high in protein.
- Fruits– Relatively low-carb fruits include berries, clementines, peaches, and kiwi.
Low-carb Dressing Ideas
Once you’ve created the bulk of the salad, it’s time for the fun part—making the dressing. The following recipes are all keto-friendly on their own, but if you want to hit ketosis even faster, try adding a drizzle of organic MCT oil into the mix.
- Creamy Basil Vinaigrette– This creamy dressing makes the perfect base for any of your favorite vegetables. To make this dressing, blend a handful of basil leaves, half an avocado, a dash of virgin oil, some apple cider vinegar, and season with salt and pepper according to your tastes.
- Creamy Jalapeno-Cilantro Dressing– If you prefer adding a bit of spice to your everyday food, a jalapeno-based dressing may do the trick. All you need to do is add half a cup of sour cream, mayo, and whipping cream to a bowl with a pinch of chopped chives and dried dill. Season with a dash of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, mix well, and add to your vegetables.
- Keto-Friendly Basil Pesto Salad Dressing– To make this basil pesto salad dressing, start by grating parmesan cheese and blending it with a handful of pine nuts and garlic cloves. Add in chopped parsley, basil, olive oil or MCT oil, lemon juice, and salt according to your taste. Blend the ingredients and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
- Healthy Chipotle Ranch Dressing– Rather than making a traditional ranch dressing with buttermilk, try this chipotle ranch dressing recipe. All you need to do is toss in half a cup of plain greek yogurt, onion powder, a dash of lemon juice, a pinch of dried dill, chipotle chili powder into a bowl or mason jar, then season with salt and pepper and blend. Don’t forget to add a bit of water if the dressing is too thick.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing– To make a healthy apple cider vinegar dressing, add a dash of vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar to a bowl. Mix in a bit of erythritol or your sweetener, a few garlic cloves, a drizzle of mustard, and season with salt and pepper. You can also add in a salad herb blend, such as grated cheese, paprika, basil, and onion powder to spice up your dressing.
Experiment With Ingredients
Staying true to any dieting commitment is never easy, but your diet doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. Go through your pantry and be creative with the ingredients you find. With a little inspiration, you’ll find countless salad options to keep your lunches interesting while sticking to your keto commitment.