Euro/Bento Inspired Salad Ideas

Okay, so I’m sure some of you are scratching your head – Euro/Bento – huh? I’ll explain … I’ve always liked salad which really helps with getting your 5 a-day, but let’s face it … lettuce can get boring if you don’t spruce it up every once and awhile! One spin I like to put on the salad is a bit European based, in that they tend to eat their salads with sliced cheese, fruit, vegetables, or meat on the side, rather than mixing it up like a Cobb salad and drenching it in gross dressings. I also think of this as rather Bento-ish, minus the box, because you have small servings of different things.

So, what am I talking about? I like to make a general “green” salad and surround it with other finger-foods or smaller salads. Pictured, for example, is a green salad, peas with yogurt, sliced swiss, olives, and pomegranate.

Why? For one, you can change it up everyday and get creative. It is also  incredibly helpful in getting in extra fruits & veggies in your diet. Finally, I find I enjoy my food more if I can linger on one particular flavor and this helps slow your eating.  I usually have at least 3 parts – here are some ideas for creating your next Euro/Bento salad 🙂

  1. Green salad – lettuce with accompanying veggies like tomato, cucumber, carrot, sprouts, etc splashed with olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of salt.
  2. Fruit – fruit salad with chopped mint; finger fruit like sliced apple, berries, or citrus segments; any fruit will do!
  3. Protein – I like quality over quantity – sliced cheese, meat, tuna, sardines, marinated tofu, are all great ideas.
  4. Salt/crunch – I like to also add something salty or crunchy such as any variety of nuts, olives, pickles, marinated vegetables, etc.
  5. Side salads – pasta salads, veggies mixed with plain yogurt, rice or couscous mixed with veggies, bean salad, cottage cheese, etc.