A delicious salad can mean many things, and almost always contains a few key components: texture, vibrant color, something hearty, and some big bursts of flavor! Below are my tried and tested salad tips.
ALL ABOUT THAT BASE
Greens, such as romaine, kale, spinach, or spring lettuce are a great way to start mixing things up in the salad bowl. Mixing greens together is a good way to balance textures and flavors. Also, think about grains (mixed with the greens or used as a “bed” for the greens). The Greek salad pictured above has a bed of cous cous with all the classic ingredients arranged on top, dressed with a bright lemon-mint dressing.
ADD-INS FOR BALANCE
Almost anything goes here, but give yourself a good balance of color and fats. A small amount of high-protein or high-fat items like nuts, olives, avocado, and beans go a long way. Bulk up the salad with add-ins like cucumbers, bell peppers, mushrooms, and green beans, all of which provide a satisfying crunch. Add a great punch of flavor with segmented citrus, such as grapefruits, oranges, or mandarins. Finally, seasonal ingredients are always a plus! What’s at the farmers market right now? Bring fennel, squash, berries, or edible flowers to the table—you can never go wrong with bright and local add-ins.
DRESSING MAKES IT YOUR OWN
There are a lot of great dressings out there, but it’s so much more fun—and easy—to make your own. A basic vinaigrette ratio is one-part vinegar to three-parts oil, but start with two-parts oil and add more to taste. Ingredients like, garlic, shallots, red onion, and fresh herbs all make great dressings. Just finely dice the ingredients so they disburse evenly. Mustards also make great emulsifiers and can give you a creamy dressing without adding fat. And don’t forget about citrus! Few cooking ingredients can add as much flavor, brightness, and joy than a good squeeze of juice from a citrusy fruit. Lime, Myer lemons, oranges, and grapefruit all make great additions to dressings.