Antioxidant All-Stars for Super Healthy Salads

Antioxidant All-Stars for Super Healthy Salads

When temperatures start rising, there's no more refreshing meal than a crisp, fresh salad. But as it turns out, not all veggies are created equal. Sure, they're all good for you, but some—five in particular—are extra good, with antioxidant levels that are out of this world! Toss a handful of these superstar veggies into a salad bowl and you'll instantly up your defenses against everything from wrinkles to heart disease. Just season with some olive oil, vinegar, and a few of the herbs and spices below and you'll punch up the antioxidant power even more. Health food doesn't get any easy-breezier!

Five Superstar Veggies

  • Artichokes

  • Radishes

  • Broccoli

  • Red chicory

  • Leeks

Seven Stellar Seasonings

  • Sage

  • Rosemary

  • Marjoram

  • Thyme

  • Tarragon

  • Cumin

  • Ginger

The Very Best Veggie
Of the 27 vegetables that scientists have studied, the almighty artichoke, rich in both fiber and folate, leads the antioxidant pack. Look for plump but compact globelike artichokes with thick, green, fresh-looking scales.

The Runners-Up
You'll find radishes, broccoli, and even luscious leeks at most supermarkets. But what about red chicory? An Italian salad favorite with an oddly appealing bitter taste, red chicory is also called radicchio. It's becoming more widely available, so keep an eye out for its purpley-red leaves. Once you get it home, try mixing it with romaine.

High-Powered Herbs and Spices
Sage, rosemary, and thyme . . . when Simon and Garfunkel made them famous, nobody knew these herbs had disease-fighting powers -- but they do. And cumin, a spice used heavily in Indian food, is even more impressive, as is ginger. Truth: All of these seasonings can boost the healthfulness and flavor factor of any salad (soups, too).

Here's a recipe to get you started:

Cool-Beans Artichoke Salad

This elegant mix is both light and filling -- perfect to serve to a few friends on a sultry night.

Serves 4

  • 10 baby artichokes (outer leaves removed), quartered

  • 2 cups diagonally cut asparagus

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 19-oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  • 8 large romaine leaves

1. Steam the artichokes for 8 minutes. Add the asparagus and steam about 2 minutes more, or until tender but still crisp. Drain and run vegetables under cold water. Let cool.

2. To make the dressing, whisk together garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Combine radishes, onions, and beans in a salad bowl with half of the dressing and toss well. Gently stir in artichokes and asparagus.

4. To serve, place two romaine leaves on four plates. Divide salad equally among plates, and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

More On Antioxidants

Eat These "Top 3" Antioxidant-Rich Veggies


Eat These "Top 3" Antioxidant-Rich Veggies
Anyone who's been to the Saturday farmers market knows there are lots of veggies out there to choose from. But do you know what ones are richest in an...
Grab Carrots This Color for Extra Antioxidants


Grab Carrots This Color for Extra Antioxidants
Today's carrots come in a rainbow of colors, but here's the hue with the most antioxidants: purple. Research shows that, bite for bite, purple carrot...
Why Organic Milk Is Best


Why Organic Milk Is Best
Is it worth paying a bit more for organic milk? Maybe, says Robin Miller, MD. In this Health Smarts video, Miller explains how organic milk contains m...
What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Apples?


What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Apples?
Apples are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber, explains Robin Miller, MD. Studies have shown eating an apple every day, as in the old ...