Many of us think of salads as a healthy meal choice, but one that’s also kind of boring, redundant, and flavorless.
When the same old iceberg-lettuce-with-ranch combo gets old (which happens pretty fast), refer to the following list for some tips to make a salad even the heartiest eater would envy. After just a little experimentation with new ingredients and unexpected combinations, you’ll find yourself looking forward to eating a bowl full of veggies for dinner rather than dreading it.
5 Tips for Making a Tasty Salad
1. Make homemade dressing. Even a simple vinaigrette (olive oil + any vinegar + salt + pepper) takes salad to a new level, and it’s only a tiny bit more work than opening a store-bought dressing. Here’s how to make your own dressing without a recipe.
2. Cut everything into bite-sized pieces. When each bite contains more than one type of food, salad just tastes better. And no one wants to contend with a huge tomato wedge or thick cucumber slice – so cut everything into a similar size so that each forkful is tasty and manageable.
3. Dry your greens really well. Wet lettuce is flavorless, and doesn’t hold onto dressing which makes it even more flavorless. Wash and thoroughly dry your greens with a salad spinner and clean kitchen towel – or use pre-washed bagged greens.
4. Toss the salad before serving. If each person adds dressing after serving herself, some bites will be flavorful while others are bland. When you toss the whole salad together with the dressing a few minutes before serving, the dressing has a chance to really flavor the vegetables before they get eaten.
5. Make it interesting. Iceberg lettuce with unripe tomatoes will not appeal to most palates. So get creative! Have a tough time thinking of ideas? A few of my favorite combinations:
- Baby spinach with sliced apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, red onions, and vinaigirette (any kind)
- Arugula with Parmesan cheese (try shaving it with a vegetable peeler), tomatoes, and pesto dressing (just mix pesto with lemon juice)
- Brown rice salad with chopped fruit, green onions, lots of fresh herbs, and orange juice mixed with olive oil for the dressing
- Romaine with black beans, corn kernels, avocado, cooked chicken, and salsa as the dressing
- Steamed asparagus tossed with strawberries, goat cheese, green onions, and lemon vinaigrette
- Butter lettuce with apples, smoked almonds, and green onions
Remember, when it comes to salad, there’s no need to follow a “recipe.” If you’re missing an ingredient, replace it with something else that serves the same purpose (crunch, spice, tang, creaminess, etc). No one will know and it’ll still be delicious!
More salad ideas:
Salad and Salad Dressing Recipes from Eating Well
Quick Main Course Salad Ideas from Everyday Food
Great Salads from Smitten Kitchen