The salad is a highly misunderstood and underappreciated food. Often thought of as a side or the healthy unfulfilling option. The store bought dressings that coat them as often filled with sugars and make them completely unhealthy. Yet salad is an amazing option when it’s too hot to eat or cook for that matter. A well put together salad should tantalize your taste buds, satisfy your hunger, and leave you wanting more. Here are the five rules for summer salad making,
Start from the bottom (like Drake): Choose interesting lettuces for the base of your salad, don’t get stuck with mundane romaine or iceberg they are practically flavorless, mix and match different lettuces.
Kale: Super food of the moment, cut very finely, slight bitter flavor
Arugula: Peppery and delicate
Butter Lettuce: Delicate, but slight crunch, big leaves, very creamy in flavor
Spinach: if you don’t know what spinach is…
Mache: Sweet, nutty, small bunches of leaves, pretty for presentation
Micro greens: There are a vast variety of them, and they are my new obsession post about them coming soon.
Spring Mix: A perfect mix of lettuces and a good base of any salad
Always add protein: Protein is what makes your body go round, chicken, fish, beef, beans, you need something that will stick to you and crave your hunger. A good idea is to grill off a bunch of protein at night, when it’s normally less hot, for three days so you can jus add it in when making salads.
Less is not More: When it comes to adding additional ingredients. Throw in everything you have, veggies, fruits, nuts, cheese, grains, such as quiona, even rice! A salad can be a great way to use leftovers.
Appeal to your senses: Use ingredients that are colorful, crunchy, sweet, sour, soft, aromatic. If you think of all your senses the salad will be a success, You eat with your eyes first so make the presentation pretty!
Dressing: The dressing has a potential to make or break an entire salad. In the summer I tend to lean towards lighter vinaigrettes because I find creamy dressings to be too heavy. I will soon have a follow up post on making vinaigrettes and dressings because they really are so simply to make and so much better for you then that bottled disgust.
So now you have the rules, take them and run and just in case your creative juices aren’t running yet here are two quick and easy options.
Hawaiian Chicken Salad
Start from the Bottom: Romaine, red cabbage, pea shoots
Always add protein: Grilled Chicken (marinated in pineapple juice/olive oil)
Less is not More: Add in red/yellow bell pepper, pineapple, apples, cashews, edamame, dried mango, cucumbers, hearts of palm
Appeal to your senses: Sight, lots of colors, Smell, the dressing is very aromatic, Touch, crunchy soft, chewy, Taste, YUM!
Don’t forget the dressing: In this case a pineapple mint vinaigrette, (pineapple juice, mint, splash of lime, agave grape seed oil, salt and pepper)
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Start from the bottom: Romaine, arugula micro greens
Always add protein: Grilled shrimp (not pictured only because I used this as a starter salad)
Less is not More: Avocado, grapefruit, marcona almonds
Appeal to your senses: Pretty presentation, crunchy buttery almonds, bitterly sweet grapefruit, creamy avocado
Don’t forget the dressing: Honey Lime vinaigrette (grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper)