I hail from a long line of salad makers. My mother was experimenting with Caesar, Waldorf, and Greek long before the other mums were. She then upped her game and began making her own salad dressings, unheard of in the era of Ranch, Thousand Island, and French!
9 Next Level Salad Recipe Additions
Since becoming an enthusiast of nutrition as an adult, I have realized the power that a good salad possesses – variety, seasonally diverse, nutrient-rich, and eye-pleasing.
I realize I might be in the minority regarding the degree to which I love designing salads, so I thought I would impart some of my passion on you.
Tips to Creating a Killer Salad
1) VARY YOUR LETTUCE – Stop it with the “spring mix.” It is fine, but there are so many other lettuce varieties full of vitamins and minerals that are begging for your attention. Butter, kale, spinach, arugula, and many other leafy greens make for a delicious change in your salad flavor.
2) FIVE COLOR RULE – Salad is the perfect opportunity to get a boatload of nutrients efficiently. Remember that each color in “food-nature” brings unique benefit. Consider aiming for five color variations in your salads. (I cheat and consider dark green and light green two different colors.)
3) SEASONALITY – Having been in Spain recently, I have seen seasonal selling play out real-time. One simply can’t purchase certain fruits or veggies during particular times of the year. It is tricky identifying what is seasonal in a traditional grocery stateside. Here is a seasonal guideline
list. Lists aside, you can observe two things: look at the veggies the grocer seems to have plenty of and check out the fruits and vegetables placed front and center. Honeycrisp apples, anyone? These are tip-offs to quick-picking seasonal food.
4) COOKED VEGGIES – What? Cooked food on my salad? Opens up a whole whack of options, doesn’t it? – Roasted sweet potato? Blanched asparagus? Yum!
5) GET NUTTY – My mum used to keep a homemade mix of sunflower seeds, raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts in her freezer and your salad inevitably ended up with a small handful right on top. Perfect for a small dose of omegas!
6) SEA VEGETABLES, CAPERS, AND FLOWERS – Go crazy! There are many nutrient-dense foods you can add to the top of your salad that brings party-pleasing color and impact.
7) BULK PREP THE DRESSING – Bulk-prepare your homemade dressings. Dressing will keep in a sealed mason jar in the fridge for weeks. Or, do as the Europeans do, keep some olive oil and balsamic on the table, add a little salt and pepper and let your veggies natural flavors do the talking. Find out how to make dozens of salad dressings in minutes.
8) FRUIT – Adding papaya, apple, pear, grapes or orange is a great way to offset any bitterness in a salad, and it looks gorgeous. Check out this simple tropical kale salad recipe!
9) PROTEIN – Adding grilled chicken, steak, pancetta or salmon makes a salad a self-contained meal!
10) SPIRALIZE – Brent and I had the most delicious salad in Valencia. Mint, pine nuts a little olive oil and, wait for it, just spiralized zucchini! For a super-quick salad spiralize cucumber, beets, sweet potato, carrot or whatever other vegetable can smash into your spiralizer.
11) WARM IT UP – In Seville, Spain we ordered a warm avocado salad. The salad was a beautiful bed of greens topped with a slightly warmed avocado and a freshly sunny side up egg. Consider adding something freshly grilled, sautéed or warmed warm as an alternative to traditional cold salads.
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This week can you deviate from tradition and make a salad at home from ingredients other than lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and carrot? Try some seasonal options, add a few nuts, or throw some flower petals on top! Enjoy!
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