How to make the Perfect Salad
If the thought of eating a salad makes you turn up your nose and say "rabbit food", it’s time you got creative! A salad that consists of simply iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber is not going to win you any new friends, but a salad that is bursting with flavour, colour, lean protein, spices and smart carbs may even lure Homer Simpson to your front door!
Here are some tips to make the best salad you’ve ever eaten.
Choosing greens for your base doesn’t necessarily mean eating a mountain of lettuce. Mix up those greens with some crisp cos, mild baby spinach, peppery rocket or a mix of leaves. You could even add grated carrot or shred some purple cabbage for a more vibrant salad base.
Build a Rainbow
Adding colour makes a salad interesting. You can toss through some cold leftover vege (pumpkin and sweet potato work well), some bright yellow capsicum, some crunchy green beans or snow peas, some yellow corn or even some thinly sliced mushrooms.
Adding legumes is a really simple way to make a salad a little more filling. Kidney beans, chickpeas or even four-bean mix, are a simple way to really boost the nutrition (fibre, carb, protein).
To keep you fuller for longer, you need to think about the protein component in a salad. A hard-boiled or poached egg, some thinly sliced chicken, marinated tofu, smoked salmon, a sprinkle of feta, a tin of tuna or even some leftover roast meat.
Gems and Jewels
Consider adding some surprising morsels to a salad - I call these the ‘gems and jewels’. Foods like pomegranate seeds, blueberries, toasted hazelnuts, grated apple, tamari, almonds, dried cranberries, thinly-sliced pear, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and pepitas sre just the start. These add the sweetness or crunch that can make a salad special.
A great dressing can really transform a salad. Avoid the shop-bought fat-free salad mixes and try making your own. A simple dressing of lemon, olive oil and garlic is always a crowd pleaser. You could even make a creamy dressing with seeded mustard and natural yoghurt. Don’t drown your salad in dressing – a large oil base is the quickest way to increase the calories in your salad.
Don’t go overboard with your fat choices in a salad… but certainly include some. Avocado, nuts, seeds or some feta are great ways to add some nourishing fat and flavour.
Spice It Up
If your salad tastes a little bland, jazz it up with some fresh or dried herbs. Toasted coriander seeds and chili flakes work well, while fresh basil and dried oregano are lovely. Have a play and get creative!
Until next time, eat well, be well…