This green power protein salad is my current favorite entree salad. It’s a delicious hearty salad that will keep full and satisfied.
Salads are my default lunch. I don’t like eating a heavy noon meal, especially on work days, it makes me sleepy in the afternoon. And one of my daily goals is to eat as many vegetables as possible. Thus, I eat a lot of salads. (I introduce myself to people by saying, “Hi, I’m Emily. I’m a dietitian and I eat a lot of vegetables….being somewhat serious here, haha). This green power protein salad was inspired by my local grocery store deli.
When you eat a lot of salads, it can get monotonous after a while. I always keep spinach in the fridge but the available toppings vary greatly. Kris gets really bored with my “throw a little of every vegetable in the fridge” salads, so I have been trying to make actual “salad recipes”. This is one of those creations. I call it the “Green Power Protein Salad” because, well, obviously it’s packed full of healthy greens; the power part is from the protein in the lentils, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. When entree salads are a way of life, you need to make sure you include some form of protein.
I am being serious when I tell you that I eat a ton of vegetables. Lately I’ve been reading stacks of research articles and listening to lectures on YouTube about various nutrition topics. I listen to lectures on my drive to and from work, super nerdy, I know…. but nutrition is such a broad field. There is sooooo much nutrition and health information everywhere you look; it’s ridiculously hard to figure out what to believe when it comes to your health. And if I, as a dietitian, struggle to figure it out, how does the general population know what to eat to be healthy? This is what I have determined so far, from all my research, the bottom line is that to be healthy, you need to eat vegetables, lots of vegetables, as many as you can every day. And avoid processed, packaged foods as much as possible.
I don’t just eat salads to be healthy. I really do like them. At work, I head straight for the salad bar in the cafeteria. The girls at the register give me a hard time because I always get a salad… But I can tell you, I feel better after eating a giant salad for lunch than if I were to get a burger and fries, or even a sandwich. I think my body craves the vegetables now.
This green power protein salad is made with spinach, kale, cabbage, and broccoli for the greens. You get a healthy dose of protein from the cottage cheese and lentils. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds add both a crunch and some healthy fats. I made my own salad dressing for this salad but you could use your favorite dressing in its place. Hope you enjoy this salad and maybe someone else out there likes salad as much as I do!
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ¼ head of cabbage, chopped
- 1 small - medium head of broccoli, chopped
- 2 kale leaves, stems removed, torn into small pieces
- 1 cup of lentils, cooked (lentils can be cooked in advance)
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- ¼ cup of sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
- For the dressing: 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over salad.