What do you think of when you hear the word “salad”?
Do you cringe at the very thought of green vegetables and go running to the fridge for bacon? Do you wonder how to make salad taste good?
Or do you turn up your nose at those who eat “rabbit food”.
I don’t know about you, but I could not live without salad. As a vegetarian, salad is basically a food group in and of itself.
Yet at the same time, I get why salad has the number of negative associations that it does. Too many people have been exposed to soggy, over-dressed, uninspired, wilted lettuce and browning vegetable “salads” that the thought of another such experience has us running and screaming for our mommies. You only know what you know.
But I’m here for you. We are going to work through these traumatic past experiences and learn to see salad in a whole new light. Just because salad is healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste like poop. Not that I have the slightest clue what poop tastes like but I can only imagine.
Here are 3 easy steps that will have you lining up to eat your vegetables. It’s time to put salad back on the map people. Let’s get excited, excited about SALAD! Here’s how to make salad taste good.
1. Put some thought into the ingredients.
The days are gone where you chop up a head of iceberg, some tomatoes, cucumber and peppers and toss it all together with bottled ranch dressing. Gone I tell you, gone!
I’m not saying you have to go and spend $50 on ingredients that are all fancy schmancy organic and have the price tag to match. But don’t be boring either. With the lettuce alone there are so many varieties to choose from. Romaine, radicchio, endive, butter, baby gem and the list goes on. You can even chop some raw kale, chard or beet greens and mix those in as well.
When you see a new vegetable at the grocery store, there’s no better way to try it than to add it to a salad. At least if you don’t like it you can eat all of the other components. I found some purple kohlrabi the other day. If radish, cabbage and broccoli stems had a baby, it’s name would be kohlrabi. Crunchy and watery, just slice it up raw and toss it in (it’s probably a good idea to peel it first though).
2. Make your dressing from scratch.
Seriously people, it takes 5 minutes, tops. Have you ever looked at the expiry dates on the store bought stuff? How can something that lasts until 2020 be good for you? Answer me that.
All you have to remember is this simple ratio, 3:1. 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar. Of course, this isn’t set in stone, you can always add more vinegar if you like things on the tangy side, but for the most part 3:1 works out pretty darn well.
By using a variety of oils and vinegars you can create a myriad of different flavour profiles. Olive oil and balsamic is classic, but how about apple cider vinegar and camelina oil? Or lime juice and avocado oil? There’s an exponential amount of possibilities out there.
3. Texture, texture, texture.
Real estate may be all about location but the key to salad is texture. You need some crunch, some pizazz, some oomph, some….well you get my drift.
Turn leftover bread into croutons. Just cube it and toss it in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes or until crunch-a-licious.
My personal favourite way to add texture is through candied nuts. I’m not sure how something as simply as almonds and sugar can taste so good but they are crazy addictive. Add them to your salad or munch by the handful, either way you can’t go wrong.
See, salad doesn’t have to be gross. With a pinch of time and a squeeze of effort it can actually turn out pretty good, tasty even. So go out on a limb, do something crazy and make some salad!