I am loving salads lately, especially since I started experimenting with what is going into my salad. Some people are really big on matching their greens (in terms of texture, taste, color) to a few toppings and a dressing, but I am all about toppings. Also, on low spoon days, it’s really easy to just open up a bag of mixed greens and put some stuff on top.
I hope I can convince you all to join me in a salad revival with some ideas.
My basic equation for a great salad is mixed greens + bottled vinaigrette + goat cheese + a leftover + nuts + chopped dates.
What makes a salad really satisfying and can take it from being just a side dish into a healthy meal is having some variety in every bite. Crunchy, creamy, salty, savory, sweet, nutty, bitter, crisp, fresh, and herby can all play their part in a salad. I really recommend checking out websites like Pinterest for specific recipes but here is a little run-through.
Croutons, nuts or seeds, oyster crackers, anything else crunchy you might have around. I really recommend almonds or cashews if you don’t have a nut allergy. Cubed bread (especially if it’s something like a baguette or other hard-loaf that has gone a little stale) is very nice in salad. Crumbled up crisps (chips) could be nice, too!
Broccoli, carrot, tomato, snap peas, and radish are all very easy to add to salad, but don’t forget the other guys! Avocado is excellent on salads. Tinned beans or frozen veggies like peas, corn, and soybeans can easily be microwaved and put on top of salad.
Some cheeses are finnicky and need a good balance of flavors to shine in a salad; this would be your blue cheese, gruyere, pretty much anything that is funky. But most salads can benefit from either a creamy or salty cheese! Try out chevre (creamy, crumbly goat’s cheese that comes in many flavors) and shaved parmesan (salty and sharp).
It’s easy to overlook this component in salads, but I hope you will give it a try! Dates, raisins, craisins, apple, pomegranate seed, mango, strawberry, orange… Raisins and dates are a good place to start but as you get more acquainted with mixing and balancing flavors you’ll find what tastes good together.
An easy way to make a salad into a really filling meal is to peek in your fridge and see if you have any leftovers. Grains like quinoa and rice are good in salads, especially because they soak up a ton of dressing. I like leftover roasted potatoes or beets in my salads. For my non-vegetarian friends, salads are the perfect place for leftover meats. Also, if you’re into hard boiled eggs, it’s really easy to boil up a bunch and then put one on top of a salad.