When it comes to salads, a little extra on top can go a long way to turn a pile of raw greens and vegetables into an exciting meal. This is exactly why we reach for croutons, crumbled bacon and/or cheese when given the opportunity, but there’s a better mix-in that will also boost the nutritive value of your salad: eggs.
“Put an egg on it” is a favorite mantra among chefs and recipe writers when struggling to turn a simple dish into something sublime, and the same approach will not only add much-needed protein to a salad, but help your body pull more nutrients out of the other ingredients as well.
New research has found that topping your salad with eggs can help boost your absorption of carotenoids—the pigments found in raw vegetables such as carrots, dark leafy greens and red peppers. These richly colored phytonutrients help reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
In the study, people who ate a raw vegetable salad with three scrambled eggs showed the highest nutrient boost, as opposed to people who ate salad with one egg or none at all.
But we’re not saying you have to eat three eggs on every salad; start with one or two. And it doesn’t matter how you cook your eggs—fried, hard-boiled, poached or whatever—as long as you include the yolks: Scientists say it’s the fat in egg yolks combined with the raw carotenoid-rich foods that gives you more nutrients. Always, of course, use organic, pasture-raised eggs whenever possible.
You can try this recipe for Kale-Carrot Salad with Hardboiled Eggs or simply add eggs to any salad you like. You will no doubt find it egg-cellent.
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 bunch kale
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- In a salad bowl, whisk together the lemon, garlic, mustard and olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Chop the kale into ribbons and massage it into the dressing.
- Add the carrot and toss well.
- Divide the salad among serving bowls and top with the sliced eggs.