Forget limp lettuce with a few slices of cucumber and a wedge or two of tomato, salads have gone through a food revolution in recent years. There is nothing stopping your salads from being healthy, exciting, and even innovative. However, they key ingredient is to make sure that in a quest to liven up a dull salad you don’t add in extra calories and fat too, which kind of defeats the whole point. Aim instead on adding an extra appetizing twist to salads!
If you are the type of person who doesn’t relish the idea of making or ordering a salad for lunch or dinner, then that might be because you are underrating just how wonderfully tasty a salad can be! Last month we suggested you add some fruit; make a superfood salad; create flavor intensity; be quirky and creative in your salad making; and add some texture. Here are a few more ideas:
Dress it up: Do you know what makes a good salad a great salad? It’s the dressing of course. Forget calorie-rich blue cheese, ranch and mayo as these defeat the object if you are really watching your diet. Making your own healthy dressing is easy. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or use white wine or red wine vinegar instead. A dash of French mustard and a squeeze of lemon or lime works wonders and chopped anchovies are a secret ingredient for the best dressings.
Make a meal out of it: Do you see a salad as a side dish or worse still, a garnish? Change your thinking and create a main course salad instead. Of course, a few leaves are not going to fill you up but you can add in some lean grilled chicken, chicken livers, or some salmon fillet, Beetroot, hard boiled egg, French beans and a few salad potatoes turns a salad afterthought into the main event.
Follow a theme: Do you tend to throw whatever is in the fridge into a salad and mix it together? There’s nothing wrong with this, instead add an extra dimension of style to your salads by following a theme. Think crunchy green salads with celery, apple and spinach, with some broad beans perhaps and spring onion. What would you add to a winter salad?
Think world cuisine: Where are salads from? If you enjoy dishes from all over the world then take your humble salad dish on a journey through different countries by experimenting with ingredients. A Greek salad has olives and feta cheese; an English ploughman’s salad has pickle and cheddar cheese; an interesting world salad in created with layers of honeydew melon slices, mint leaves and slices of cucumber. What would you add to an Asian-inspired salad?
Serve it right: Presentation is everything! If your salad comes in a small bowl or on the edge of the plate then you really are saying that it is not that interesting. A big salad bowl in the middle of the table not only looks appetizing but if you add some salad tongs or salad spoons you can really toss the leaves and give the ingredients a good mix and coat with the dressing. For heavier dressings than simple olive oil you might want to serve on the side.
Next month we will take a look at some healthy and interesting vegetarian dishes!