salad lede beautifying

Leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables are good for the skin, so the list of recipes that contain skin-beautifying ingredients comprises a whole lot of salads.

Salads carry a lot of baggage as the food of choice of boring people who are excessively concerned with their weight, but that’s not fair to the salads, because salads can be awesome. I eat salads almost every day, but it’s not for health reasons or to lose weight or anything. I just really like salads. That sounds like a humblebrag, but it’s not that I have particularly healthful tastes or anything. (Today’s lunch salad is about to be followed by a cupcake covered in mini Snickers bars. For real.)

I used to absolutely hate salads. Hate them. But it turned out I was just eating crappy salads. The key to liking salads is basically to figure out what kinds of salads you like, and then eat those and skip the boring or nasty ones.

To figure out what kinds of salads you might like, start by trying different leaves to figure out what kinds of leaves you like. Crunchy, watery leaves like iceberg and romaine still leave me cold, but I love smaller, peppery greens like arugula or mizuna with pretty much everything. Soft, spongey, dark green leaves like spinach, purslane, and field salad are good if you don’t love crisp greens. Kale is annoying because it needs to be chopped up, but is awesome with a lemony dressing.

Speaking of dressing, for me the biggest difference in suddenly learning to like salads a whole lot was learning that I don’t really like bottled dressing. Bottled dressing is often too sweet, or lacking in spice, or just the mouthfeel seems off. If you do like bottled dressing, by all means just use that. For me, usually I just mix a tablespoon of some kind of vinegar with a tablespoon and a half of olive oil and some salt and pepper and pour that on the salad. Making a dressing like that takes less time than washing the lettuce. (And speaking of washing the lettuce, get yourself a salad spinner if you don’t already have one. They really work, and eating damp greens with dressing can be really weird and gross.)

If you’re interested in eating for skin health, salads are one of the easiest ways to do it. OK, they’re not quite as fun as cocktails or popsicles, but leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula are full of skin-protecting vitamin A, C, and K. Salads benefit from diversity, so throw in almonds and walnuts for Omega-3 fatty acids, and bright colored fruits and vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, pomegranates, and strawberries to help protect your skin from damage, prevent redness, and heal from environmental damage. (Or damage we might have done to it earlier with all the cocktails.)

Salmon is excellent in salads, and salmon is one of the most skin-beautifying things you can eat. It is full of skin-softening fatty acids, and according to Dr. Perricone it contains DMAE and the antioxidant Astaxanthin, which help prevent sagging, inflammation, and wrinkles. (Dr. Perricone‘s skin-beautifying detox diet basically involves eating salmon three times a day with some antioxidant-rich fruit and leafy greens. It’s possible to make an amazing salad by just throwing all those things in a bowl together.)

So here are 10 salads with skin-beautifying ingredients.

Most of these salads are very easy, but if they seem a little too labor-intensive there are easier options. My standard lunch salad is the quickest I’ve ever seen: Just take some clean arugula or baby spinach, add salt, freshly ground black pepper and a little bit of olive oil, then shave some Parmesan over it. (A vegetable peeler is great for shaving Parmesan, but you can use a knife or a cheese plane or just break it up with your hands if you don’t have any utensils.) Mix it up and it’s ready to go.