Thursday, July 30, 2015

How To Make Good Summer Salads

I posted this photo last night on Instagram and it got me thinking about what makes a salad good, like really deliciously good: Variety (which is also happens to be the spice of life). Different flavors, different textures, and some heavier components so that you aren't hungry twenty minutes later, make a salad a winner in my eyes. I also think all that variety inherently gives you a salad that is more nutritious and nourishing than the usual old lonely lettuce. And keeps your taste buds happy. So here I've listed out my thoughts on the essential, delicious making elements that should go into a salad.

Thoughts after the jump...

Listed in the order I would layer these things into the bowl, from bottom to top, get at least 5 of these in there and you'll probably be looking pretty good.

1/ Leafy greens of your choice.
Duh. You could skip them, of course, but they're so light and a great base.
2/ Crunchy, fibrous vegetables.
Like radishes, turnips, carrots, beets, cucumbers, etc. cut into nice slices or thin wedges.
3/ Onion-y things.
Doesn't matter if they're shallots or scallion, mince up some of that goodness and mix it in. Maybe even grate some garlic into your dressing too.
4/ Protein.
Maybe it's a hard boiled egg, maybe it's your left over taco meat from last night, maybe it's a classic can of tuna.The possibilities are endless.
5/ Beans or Grains.
I never really cook beans or grains specifically for a salad, but if they're cooked and hanging out in the fridge, into the salad they'll go. Salads are great vehicles for using left overs.
6/ Cheese.
Grated parm, crumbled feta, or even just a couple slices of camembert on toast on the side.
7/ Toasted nuts.
Sliced almonds, salted pepitas, roasted pecans, so many options! Pick your favs.
8/ Dried or fresh fruit.
For example dried cranberries or chopped apples or golden raisins.
9/ Super foodie booster options.
Like a sprinkling of chia seeds or hemp hearts.

And if you're going for bonus points, mix up your own dressing. I like to do half and half, oil and vinegar (or lemon) because I love an acidic dressing, but do more oil if you'd like it more tame. Then, salt, pepper, and there you go. Basic dressing. Whisk together. Variations? Add dijon mustard, minced onion-y things or grated garlic, chopped up herbs, or chili flakes.

What do you guys out there add into your salads? Got any good combinations? I tend to think that radishes and eggs and toasted pepitas like each other. Also, celery and toasted almonds and balsamic go well together.

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