In doing this series of posts on salads, I thought it was worth some discussion on whether to toss a salad or not. So, here are my thoughts:
- The flavour is more uniform as it permeates the entire body of the salad.
- It is nice to serve a salad that is already dressed and ready to go.
- I find that when you put the dressing on the table, it can add to clutter of items on the table and can sometimes be messy to serve, especially when it is not being squeezed from a store bought bottle of dressing. (I guess one advantage of store bought is that they tend to be less messy.)
Why You Might Decide Not to Toss:
- Once tossed, the salad really won’t keep well, so any leftovers are pretty much trash.
- Everyone has different preferences when it comes to salad dressing. Some prefer it bathing in dressing, while others (like my daughter) often opt for NO dressing at all. By serving the salad plain, each individual can decided how they would like to dress their own salad according to their own personal preferences.
- If you are watching calories, you might like more portion control when it comes to the dressing. Years ago, I learned a technique that actually works surprisingly well for this. Use an individual little cup (think shot glass size) and put your dressing into it. Instead of putting your dressing on your salad, dip your fork into your little cup of dressing before each bite. Although there is no dressing actually applied to the salad, it does give great flavour and keeps your dressing usage to a minimum. The down side is that whatever you don’t used has to be tossed and thus is wasted, but I guess better those calories in the trash than in your body if you are trying to cut them!
In the end, it really comes down to personal preference. I find that I change it up depending on who I am serving the salad to, what kind of salad it is and if there is the potential for leftovers. Here is what I tend to do:
- Very lightly toss the entire salad (or a portion of it I think there might be extra leftover). By tossing it with minimal dressing, I am getting the flavour throughout the salad, but know the dressing won’t be too heavy. I then serve a side of extra dressing for anyone who wants to add more.
- If I make a salad for myself (say pack it for lunch), I always take a little container and just pour it over the top. I don’t ever toss it. It just works for me.
- Some salads actually need to be tossed in the dressing to soften the flavours or textures in the salad. I feel like kale might fall into this category. I might have more tendency to toss if I have kale in a salad, as it can be bitter tasting.
By now you’ve realized that I never really answered the question, but have just given you some options to consider. Stay tuned for more great salad recipes!