Culinary School 101: Making Salads Interesting

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blood orange and burrata salad-1.jpg

So I’m going to be honest here. At first, Matt was not a big salad fan. Whenever I’d suggest we make a salad with our dinner or for lunch, he would either begrudgingly agree or suggest something else. It took several months to convert him to a full salad-loving person- to the point were he now actually suggests we make a salad.

So how did this happen? Well turns out Matt likes salad, but they can’t be 1) boring and 2) full of just raw veggies. My guess is he’s not alone, and I’d generally agree with him here. Here are a couple of things I ALWAYS include or do in my salads to make them delicious, even to someone who isn’t as into salads…

1) Add fruit. A little sweetness goes a long way. Generally I try to go seasonal- peaches or nectarines in the summer; berries or figs in the late summer, early fall, or winter; apples or pears in the fall. Switching it up constantly makes it interesting and varied.

2) Add cheese. Again, a little goes a long way. If you’re concerned about calories/fat, I’d encourage you to just try adding a little- 1/2 ounce is enough to add the flavor needed in my opinion. Like the fruit here, you can play around with different textures and flavors- I’ve used everything from harder cheeses like cheddar and parmesan to softer cheeses like feta or chevre.

3) Add nuts. With this, I highly suggest adding nuts or seeds that are already flavored in some way. You can do this through toasting nuts, buying pre-seasoned/spiced nuts, or using candied nuts.

4) Put some effort into the dressing. A good dressing seriously changes a salad. I highly recommend making your own- it takes less than 10 minutes and you can make a batch for the week quite easily. Need some inspiration? See below for ideas. If you’re tight for time, I recommend buying some high quality olive oil and vinegar for an easy drizzle.

5) Season and toss your salad. Seems simple, right? But it’s surprising how many people don’t do this. Make sure you pour the dressing on the greens (rather than the toppings) and toss well. And SEASON. Yes, season your salad with salt and pepper. It makes the flavor pop.

6) Change it up frequently, but with small changes. I like trying out different greens that I see at the market. The slight change in texture, bitterness, and taste keeps it interesting.

 

Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Avocado Vinaigrette

 

Poppy Seed Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing

 

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

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