Make better than restaurant salads at home!

image_pdfimage_print

Step away from the traditional and boring iceberg, ranch dressing, tomato, and shredded cheese with croutons.

Say goodbye to your standard salad and say Hello, scrumptious salads where have you been all my life?!?!

Salads are always better when somebody else makes them especially at restaurants. But you can have better than restaurant quality at home.  Leftovers are a great place to start.  I save all my left overs meats for salad toppers.  If there is only 1/4 cup of chopped chicken then I will add nuts to increase protein.  Add some berries or diced apples and a salad has been made.

Creativity counts and a little of this and a little of that can taste amazing.  Building a salad is simple to do. In the realm of the decorating world objects are usually arranged in threes and 5 to create a visual balance. I like to think of building a salad the same way.  Mix and matching flavors and textures will sure to please the palate and keep you from being anything but bored from salads.  Using left over prepped fruits and veggies are a quick and delicious way to 1. make a delicious salad and 2. decrease waste in produce.

Remember to jot down what you did to replicate it later!

I am not going to mess around, let’s dive right into the components of what makes delicious salads:


Salad greens and care:

There are a plethora of lettuces out there.  Iceberg is your classic round head of lettuce with a more succulent leaves that you typically find on most salads. There is a vast expansion of lettuces and other salad greens varieties in grocery stores nowadays. You have Romaine which is typically served for Caesar salads and holds up well in the refrigerator for a week at a time. Other lettuce is starting to make their way onto the scene and grocery stores are red leaf and green leaf lettuce, butterhead, cabbages, arugula, black seeded Simpson, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, radicchio, just to name a few.

When purchasing salad greens be sure to look for lettuce that is fresh and appearance and has a minimal amount of browning around the edges. When you get home break apart the salad greens and wash it and a salad spinner. Invest in a good salad spinner that will last you for several years. Continue to chop the salad greens to desired size after spinning, and then put it in to the serving dishes that you want. If you don’t want to wash the lettuce and chop it yourself purchasing the premix lettuce bags are a great option.

Vegetables.

Usually ate raw but air fried sweet potatoes tastes really good on a bed of greens. Slice the vegetables to a half-inch or under size.  If it’s a tubular vegetable such as a zucchini, cucumber , carrot cut lengthwise and then across. Shredded vegetables such as carrots and zucchini are also good and add fun texture.

Fruits.

Can either be dried or fresh. Make sure fresh fruits or diced or sliced thin and small, think about half inch in diameter or thickness.

Nuts.

Free for all.  Eat what you can and often.  I love a pistachios with blueberries, red onion, and salmon combination.

Meat.

Make sure it has been cooked.  I like to cut it into bite size pieces or thin long strips.  Grilled meats work well, in addition to shrimp and cut up lunch meats. Cold salmon and shrimp are tasty ideas as well.

Cheese.

Depending on your dietary needs some people will use cheese on their salad some will not. I prefer dry aged cheese or a blue cheese. Cheeses can overwhelm your salad, stealing the flavor show making it the only thing you taste.  Keep it to a minimum so it won’t over power the whole salad.

Dressings.

Finding a good dressing is difficult. In my early years I was a connoisseur of all things Ranch. As I’ve leveled up in my years I have lost the taste for Ranch dressing. The standard Italian, French, Thousand Island just did not work for me. So I set out to learn about dressings and what I liked and did not like. Simplicity is best for me. I drizzle a good avocado oil or a light tasting olive oil with red wine vinegar and salt and pepper or honey.

Prepping.

When it comes to storing your salad I highly recommend that you assemble the morning of the day you’re going to eat it. Store everything separately. Flavors have a tendency to blend together, lettuce is will wilt– there is nothing worse than having your lettuce sit in the pool of tomato juice.  Meat will distort the flavor overnight of the rest of your salad, your dried nuts will get soggy from the moisture of the fruit, vegetables or meat, and the list goes on and on of reasons to just don’t mix your salad until you eat it. If you’re taking salads to lunch put the lettuce in the container you’ll be eating it out of and then you will have that as your base. I like to use containers with little dividers in it to put my toppings in. Or if you have dried fruits and nuts you can put those together. Keep alike items together such as dried nuts and fruits and shredded aged cheeses.  Keep high moisture fruits together and put vegetables together. It seems like a lot of containers but three hours or 4 hours before you get to eat your salad can make a huge difference on flavor and desire to eat it.

Here are some of my favorite combinations:

Green peppers, kohlrabi, broccoli, blueberries, red onion, green leaf lettuce, Hungarian yellow peppers, Parmesan cheese, and chicken with vinegar and oil drizzled on top.

Lettuce, red onion, cucumber, prosciutto, red wine vinegar, avocado oil, sea salt, granulated garlic. I made the same salad later on in the week and added some dried cherries

Red leaf lettuce, blackberries, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, salmon, garlic and salt seasoning blend, red wine vinegar, avocado oil.

Red leaf lettuce, orange peppers, radishes, avocado, tomatoes, chopped lunch meat and red wine vinegar and avocado oil.

Head over to the search area and type in BLT salad or Hamburger salad for more delicious ideas!

Leave a Reply