As the superfood craze has swept the country, salads have gone from simple side dishes to lunch or dinner’s star attractions. A well-made salad is a delicious balance of textures and flavors, and while salads may seem simple (you dump a bunch of vegetables in a bowl, right?), achieving that balance takes some skill.
While your Instagram feed is filling up with crisp, colorful summer salads, you might be pushing a sad pile of greens around your plate, wondering how to make a bowl of lettuce look that good. It’s easier than it seems to turn greens into an actual meal, as long as you know what components to include. Use this formula to slice, dice, and toss a colorful, craveable salad every time.
Focus on Variety
Variety is the key to creating a memorable salad. One forkful of a good salad should taste like a miniature meal, complete with complementary flavors and textures. Balance crisp ingredients (like lettuce, peppers, carrots, onions, croutons, or toasted nuts and seeds) with foods that add some moisture back into the mix (like tomatoes, grilled chicken, fresh fruit, or avocado).
Think Beyond the Lettuce
Since fresh produce is the star of the bowl, choose produce in season and available right now. We highly recommend shopping the stands at a farmer’s market to find peaches, tomatoes, corn, zucchinis, and strawberries that taste great and are locally grown. Choose two to three seasonal ingredients to highlight, then select complementary toppings, dressings, and a base.
Speaking of salad bases, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: salads don’t have to include lettuce. A refreshing mix of watermelon, feta cheese, and mint is just as much of a salad as a standard iceberg-and-rance combination. The texture is more important than tradition, so don’t feel limited by conventional salad recipes.
One Mandatory Tip for Prepping Salads
Forget those old-fashioned images of half-torn iceberg lettuce with long strips of bell pepper balanced on top. The thing that’s made salad chains like Copt or Sweetgreen so popular is that everything comes perfectly, so it’s easy to get a bit of everything on your fork. Salads are a lot more enjoyable when you’re not awkwardly slurping onions or working on cutting grilled chicken. Cutting everything into bite-sized pieces before tossing also prevents toppings from getting lost at the bottom of the bowl.
Homemade salad dressing is the difference between a stand-out salad and a mediocre bowl of greens. A little olive oil and vinegar can go a long way, but here are 12 easy salad dressing recipes to get you started.
Is your salad a little bitter? Use a dressing that’s creamy and sweet. Is it full of carbohydrates, like grains or potatoes? Go for a dressing that has a bold flavor or spicy kick.
No arguments over where to eat dinner, no shouting across the table in a noisy restaurant, and no spending hours in the kitchen on your Lowcountry vacation. Chef Lynn Michelle’s personal chef services are intimate, personal, and completely customizable. Imagine spending time around the table with your friends and family while The East Coast Chef® prepares whatever meal your heart (and stomach) desires. Call us at 843-422-5480 or click here to book your next meal.