Tis the season to overindulge. To get myself ready, I’m purposely overindulging in salads right now – and I must say this is actually more of a pleasure than a chore. I can’t tell you how many kinds of salad we’ve eaten in the last few weeks, and rather than getting old, they’re just getting better.
Here are the factors that I think make a good salad good:
1. Homemade dressing. This just takes salad to a new level, and it’s only a tiny bit more work than opening a store-bought dressing. Here’s how to make your own dressing without a recipe.
2. Make everything bite-sized or smaller. When each bite contains more than one type of food, salad just tastes better. And no one wants to contend with a huge tomato wedge or thick cucumber slice – so cut everything into a similar size so that each forkful is tasty and manageable.
3. Dry your lettuce (or other greens) well. Wet lettuce is flavorless, and doesn’t hold onto dressing which makes it even more flavorless. Wash and thoroughly dry your greens by using a salad spinner then patting dry with a clean kitchen towel – or use pre-washed bagged greens.
4. Toss the salad before serving. If you let each person put on their own dressing, some bites will be well-coated and others will be bland. Add the dressing and toss a few minutes before serving, so the dressing has a chance to really flavor the vegetables before they get eaten.
5. Make it interesting. Iceberg lettuce with unripe tomatoes will not appeal to most palates. So get creative! Have a tough time thinking of ideas? A few of my favorite combos:
- Baby spinach with sliced apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, red onions, and vinaigrette (any kind)
- Arugula with Parmesan cheese (try it shaved as opposed to grated), tomatoes, and vinaigrette
- Grains-based salad with chopped greens
- Mexican chopped salad, like this
- Italian chopped salad, like this
- Winter green salad with fruit and rice
- Kale salad
- Lettuce-free Greek salad
- Butter lettuce salad with grains and apples
- And MANY MORE……
Remember, when it comes to salad, there’s no need to follow a “recipe.” If you’re missing an ingredient, replace it with something else that will provide the same effect (crunch, spice, tang, creaminess, etc). No one will know and it’ll still be delicious!