How to Actually Enjoy Salads - 6 Hints for Building Your Best Salad
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Learning to love salad isn't just about munching on greens; it's a flavorful adventure waiting to happen. Say goodbye to boring bowls of lettuce and hello to a symphony of tastes and textures that'll make your taste buds dance!
Whether you're a salad skeptic or a greens guru, it's time to elevate your salad game and turn those fresh veggies into a masterpiece. Get ready to toss, mix, and savor your way to salad success!
6 Hints for Building Your Best Salad
1. Add Protein
If a garden salad doesn't feel substantial enough for you, adding protein can make it more hearty and filling. Grilled chicken and hard-boiled eggs are classic salad toppers, but there are tons of possibilities:
- Meat: Skewers of garlicky shrimp, sliced turkey, crumbled bacon, cubes of tofu, or slices of roast beef
- Nuts: Roasted nuts add protein and satisfying crunch
- Cheese: pick your favorite cheese and crumble, shred, or slice it onto a salad
- Beans: Chickpeas (roasted or raw), black beans, white beans, or lentils
Layer a few proteins into your salad for even more flavor and texture; don't hold back!
2. Experiment with Different Greens
There's a whole world of greens out there from crisp and mild romaine to peppery arugula and even tender microgreens. If you don't like one type of lettuce, try a variety of different greens until you find some that are for you. Or maybe you don't even need to involve salad greens at all.
3. Make Your Own Dressing
Making salad dressing at home is faster and easier than you think, and it means you can customize the all-important dressing to your own tastes. Once you have a basic vinaigrette down, you can experiment with variations.
4. Salt and Season Your Salad
Pretty much all food tastes better with seasoning and salad is no different. Don't be afraid to sprinkle salt right onto your greens, add a few grinds of fresh black pepper, or dust the salad with spicy chile powder. Nuts, beans, cheese, and meats also add salt and savory goodness to a salad.
5. Use Different Textures
Try using roasted vegetables (beets, carrots, and root vegetables especially), for softer textures and sweeter flavor. You can also switch up the way you prep raw veggies. Fibrous vegetables like celery and asparagus are more palatable raw if you grate or thinly slice them on a mandoline slicer. Kale gets softer if you give it a little massage with some olive oil. Toppings like croutons, nuts, and crisp bacon add textural variety. Experiment & play!
6. Build on What You Already Like
Start with the fruits and vegetables you already like, and find ways to incorporate those into a salad. If you like fruit, sweeten your salad with oranges, apples, pears, or berries. If you don't really care for any fruits and veggies, choose a dish you do enjoy and build a salad around those flavors. For example, if you love hot wings dipped in ranch, try a salad topped with buffalo-seasoned chicken breast and drizzled with ranch dressing. It won't replace the wings of course, but it might become a new favorite salad!