Unfortunately, I had a crazy weekend and was unable to make it to the grocery store (boo!). So, instead of a recipe, here is some advice for making a perfect salad, but without the instructions.
For a truly wonderful and satisfying salad, there are different key components that must be present. Without these ingredients, the salad will most likely turn out bland and unsatisfying. So often, I hear people complain that salads are boring, and that they are usually left hungry by the end of their endeavor. Confused, I look into their bowl and am left aghast at what I find. I see ice burg lettuce, a few tomatoes and cucumbers, sprinkles of bacon bits, and gratuitous amounts of ranch dressing thrown together and carelessly labeled as a salad. This is an outrage.
Yes, I am a total salad snob… But for completely valid and understandable reasons! Eating a healthy, balanced salad will not only satisfy the eater, but it will also leave them feeling fresh and healthy, as if they had just harnessed the Sun’s power and could provide a pure and sustainable form of energy for the entire planet on their own.
Maybe I overstate the feeling obtained by eating a good salad, but there is something to be said about how clean and healthy I feel after I eat one.
But I digress. For a salad as delicious as it is healthy, it needs 6 different types of ingredients:
- A Base
- I’m all about that base. A base is typically the most prevalent food ingredient in the salad. Usually, it is less flavorful than other ingredients so it compliments the different flavors of the other ingredients. Bases tend to be crisp lettuces or spinach for vegetable salads. For spontaneous salads to satisfy you for an afternoon snack or light lunch, keep your fridge stocked with easy lettuces like ice burg or romaine.
- A sweet
- Gimme some suga, baby! Sweets give the salad a delectable kick that is difficult to not look forward to. The sweets in salads are typically fruits like strawberries or blueberries, or sweeter vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, or carrots.
- A salty
- Why so salty? Here’s why: salty flavors actually make the sweet taste sweeter, how about that! Even just adding a little salt and pepper to the salad helps give the sweet ingredients more potency. Don’t believe me? Ever notice that cookie dough has a little salt in it? That’s because it keeps the sugar tasting sweet. Want to test it out before adding it to your salad? Sprinkle a little salt on a grapefruit or some watermelon and taste the explosion of new flavor you never knew existed. Worried that salt is unhealthy? A little salt in the diet actually HELPS you stay hydrated. So, the next time someone asks you why you’re being so salty, just reply with “because I’m emphasizing the sweet, babe.”
- A bitter
- No one likes a bitter Bethany… except my salad recipes! Bitter flavors help keep the salad grounded. I really enjoy using bitters like red onion or radishes in my salads, but the world of flavor extends far beyond those vegetables. The wonderful world of bitters includes olives, dandelion greens, arugula, and many, many more.
- A hearty
- Adding hearty things to your salad is what keeps you feeling full. Hearty things can include croutons (if that’s your wish), cheese, chicken, ham, chick peas, etc. Keeping a block of sharp cheddar cheese in your fridge at all times can get your salad going from 0 to 100 real quick. Don’t be afraid of exploring with hearty flavors, because they can easily be the fairy godmother to your Cinderella salad, transforming it from something simple to something excellent
- A nutty
- We’re all a bit nutty around here. A nutty flavor can add something to your salad you never knew was missing before the bite hit your taste buds. Nutty flavors work similarly as the hearty flavors, and complements the sweet flavors well. Pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds are all fairly safe to add to any salad, meaning that they will most definitely taste delicious in any setting.
I hope these guidelines for what to add to your salad is useful for creating a delicious salad that is satisfying and healthy! Don’t be afraid to explore with your ingredients… you’ll never know what you like if you don’t try it!
Cheers and good tidings,