A traditional basic salad basically consists of three main parts:
I’ve already alluded to some of this in my first post of this series, but wanted to revisit some aspects of it in more detail.
I believe that people get super bored with salad when they stick to the same old, same old. I love my dad, but if and when he makes a salad, it is the exact same salad I had regularly as a kid.
Iceberg lettuce + carrot + celery + cucumber + green onion + bottled dressing = BORING!!
I don’t love this salad. I tolerate it. In order to truly embrace and love salad, you really have to step out of your box and try different combinations.
- Greens ~ as previously mentioned in post one….MIX. IT. UP. I always keep Romain on hand. I use it solo, but also mix it with a variety of other greens. I love the “live” lettuce, spring mix, baby spinach and arugula blend, red lettuce, kale, and anything else that is leafy! Be adventurous. Varying your base of greens adds interests because of the various depths of green as well as colour with the hints of red. It also brings a variety of flavour and texture. I find that I will often couple a sturdier leaf with those that seem to wilt easily (like those from my garden).
- Vegetables ~ I mentioned how using different cutting techniques can help make your salad more visually appealing, but I felt that I had to bring up two other important things to consider when adding vegetables to your salad. Perhaps this is just personal preference, but I like to think of my vegetables more like a condiment/topping rather than a main ingredient. So for me, I’m thinking more like a dash, a hint, a sprinkling, a scattering, etc. When my husband makes a salad, it is always very vegetable heavy. By that I mean lots and lots of vegetables with greens added in. I very much appreciate his help in the kitchen, but I will usually offer to make the salad simply because my preference is for the vegetables to accent the greens. I find that a vegetable heavy salad often seems bland, especially when the vegetables are chopped. I find that each hunk of vegetable holds its own unique flavour ~ think chopped celery. A piece of chopped celery in a salad often tastes like….wait for it…wait for it….chopped celery! I just find that the flavours don’t unite and blend together to create an experience. I know this may sound crazy to others, but I really believe that the amount you add and the way in which it is cut makes a big difference. I challenge you to try it. For me, I use my salad additions sparingly. The greens are the body and main part of my salad and the veggies are added to offer interest, texture, colour and a hint of additional flavour. The way some vegetables are cut is not as important as others, but I really believe that very thinly slicing, spiralling and ribboning can tame the taste of some that can be over powering. The next time you prepare a salad, try it. Use less vegetables than you might typically use. Think of them more as a garnish. In addition, go out of your way to make very thin slices. Think of what you might normally dice/chop and ask yourself if there is a different way to cut it. I believe you too will see and taste a difference.
- A great dressing! I don’t need to go into much detail here, but I will challenge you to find homemade replacement recipes for the bottles you typically buy. There are so many additives in those store bought varieties and I promise a great homemade dressing recipe will knock your salad out of the park every time! I will be posting many great recipes throughout this series, but I know there will be some you don’t like. In fact, my personal umber #1 favourite dressing of all time (which I have yet to post so stay tuned), is not liked by the rest of my family😢 I always have a batch of this on hand because it is my absolute favourite, but when I use this dressing, my family will always opt for another. You may need to try several before you find your personal “go to’s”.
I would love for you to step up to some of my challenges and let me know how it goes!