5 Ways To Enhance Salads
Even salad lovers can get bored over time with their usual medley of greens. Here are some ways to perk up their taste.
Today's salads come in all sizes, flavors, and types. You can have a hot bacon dressing salad, crumbled blue cheese topping, or even anchovies, depending on your taste. A side salad can fill a meal's gap or you can feast on a chef's salad as a total dining experience.
But if you're feeling a little jaded with your salads lately, it may be time to try something new or different. Here are a few ideas that may perk up your appetite:
1. Mix your greens. Instead of relying mainly on iceberg lettuce, include romaine lettuce, spinach leaves, leeks, sprigs of fresh dill, and escarole. You may want to try celery leaves, parsley, or other types of greenery from the veggie section of the supermarket. If one or two flavors don't mesh, try something different next time. Ask your grocer to recommend a range of possibilities for adding color and texture to your salad bowl.
2. Experiment with veggies. Everyone has tried radishes, carrots, mushrooms, celery, and sometimes onions (green or yellow) in their salads. Now try getting a little adventurous: Add chunks of cooked squash, corn kernels, chilled peas, beet slices, baked eggplant, or turnip bits, along with garbanzo or kidney beans, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower sprigs, red, green, or yellow peppers, and other seasonal produce. Use traditional veggies in untraditional ways, such as cooking carrots instead of eating them raw, or adding chunks of baked sweet potato instead of traditional potato salad.
3. Add some sizzle with meat flavors. In lieu of the traditional bacon bits or ham chunks, how about slicing freshly grilled chicken or beef, flavored with Italian or barbecue dressing, city chicken or sausage pieces on skewers, deep fried pork nuggets, broiled salmon or tuna fillets, or delicate strips of lamb or veal?
4. Make it fruity. In the summertime, you may want to toss in a cup of cubed and de-seeded watermelon, fresh, juicy cantaloupe, or honeydew or honey rock melon. Add seedless or halved grapes, cherry tomatoes, sliced bananas, strawberries, blackberries, or even blueberries. Apple or peach slices, raisins, cherry halves, or kiwi sections add a new type of zest or texture to many salads. Pineapple, orange, and mango chunks add a tropical flavor for a special treat. Sprinkle with coconut.
5. Sample some extra possibilities for enriching your future salads. Consider adding sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans, or trail mix either in or top of the salad. Almond slivers are another option. Or go soft with tofu, parmesan, or trail cheese. Mexican or pepper jack cheeses add a richer taste sensation. Croutons from variety breads can provide color and taste variations. Experiment with non-traditional salad dressings, such as raspberry vinaigrette or sparkling soda water to cut calories, or try mixing two or more flavors to downplay strong side flavors, like garlic, to get the taste you want.
Salads do need not be boring or mainstream anymore. Whatever your taste may be, add a sampling of flavors to your next side or main salad for a satisfying meal or treat for your guests.