My mom is the absolute queen of salads! She can whip up the most creative salads with ingredients that you never would think of putting together. We lived with them for a summer while my husband was doing an internship and so she would make us a salad for lunch everyday. Here are a few tips on creating your own individual salads that I’ve learned from her.
- Create the salad on your plate. In order to make a masterpiece you have to start on the plate you will eat it on. Yes that means laying out plates for everyone who is eating! (Not recommended for large gatherings obviously) This way you can look for all the components of the salad and arrange them on the plate so that everyone will want to dig in the moment it’s placed before them on the table.
- Mix greens. Use a combination of lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc. This adds different textures and tastes to the salad.
- I always like to have an equal/or more amount of add-ins than lettuce.
- Always have a “crunch” component of the salad. Now this can come in several forms, it could be crunchy vegetables, nuts or croutons/chips. You need at least one crunchy element, if not more.
- Always have a form of cheese! My husband teases me that our family (my side) can’t make a meal without cheese! We are addicts to cheese haha. So I love to have cheese sticks on hand for a quick snip of the scissors and into the salad! But you could add some depth and flavor with an aged cheese too!
- Never underestimate the power of fresh herbs, onions and spices!
- Think in colors. My mom always says that we need to “eat the rainbow”. Look for all types of fruits and veggies first. Then look in your pantry for other items to add. Dried fruit and seeds always add a special element to a salad.
- Use leftovers in creative ways! We would often times use the meat from a previous dinner and create a salad that resembled it. For example, we would make a taco salad (very easy one to create). Or maybe we had leftover roast beef/pork and would add some corn, tomatoes and other vegetables. We often time would add rice and quinoa to a salad.
- Lastly, you don’t always have to cover your masterpiece with a salad dressing. Salsa, honey/lime juice, guacamole and balsamic glaze are very good on top of salads!
So get creative and eat more salad!! Here are a few examples.
Everybody loves a good berry salad! I added some toasted almonds and a cheese stick. Fresh basil added a surprise taste! This came together in 5 minutes!
I love to have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and use them often on salads for dinner. It makes for a healthy meal! Also have fun in ways that you cut your veggies. Here I peeled the whole carrot, not just the skin and so they were longer, thinner slices instead of the normal circles.
Here is an Asian salad that I’ll be posting soon!