There are many different ways that salad can be prepared, such as cold or hot, layered or chopped, delicate or robust; but, one thing that salad should never be is boring. Period. Thankfully, it is much simpler than you might think to transform a bowl of lettuce that is lacking in flavor and texture into one that is bursting with both texture and flavor. A salad may easily go from a necessary side dish into a supper hero if you vary the items that you put into it, or even the greens themselves, prepare them in a new way, or include a few elements that you would not normally use. Read on to learn eight different ways to give salad a fresh new look.
Play with Your Greens
scallions, avocados, and radishes respectively To create a vivid spring salad, you may make this recipe for watercress and radicchio salad and top it with a dressing that contains fish sauce. During the week, you might want to think about making some additional dressing to use with your salads.
When there are so many different selections available, why restrict the list of leafy greens to just iceberg and romaine when we all have our personal favorites? If you favor lettuce that is more subdued and delicate, you should attempt tender Bibb lettuce, which is an excellent choice for combining with creamier dressings. You’re looking for a flavor that is more robust and a little bit of grit. Include escarole or radicchio, which is a milder cousin of escarole. For a more hearty salad, you might want to think about using kale, which is not only rich in vitamins and nutrients but also does not wilt as quickly as other greens. (Give one of our dozens of various recipes for kale salad a try.)
Add Fresh Herbs
Other types of leaves can be found in a salad bowl than lettuce. The addition of fresh herbs, whether they be torn basil leaves, trimmed chives, or full mint leaves, can substantially enhance the flavor of virtually any salad. You may try adding a single herb, such as dill, to a straightforward salad consisting of beets and feta cheese. Alternatively, you could adopt a more herb-forward approach by adding big handfuls of different herbs, which is an attractive choice if you have an herb garden.
Switch Up Your Protein
Chicken is a simple and adaptable form of protein that can be used in salads. Other protein sources that can be used in salads include steak, shrimp, and fish. These ingredients not only give an additional layer of flavor and texture but also enable the dish to be more satisfying and substantial. Beans and legumes are excellent sources of protein that come from plants, and if you use canned beans or lentils that have been steamed and stored in the refrigerator, you will need almost no preparation.
DIY Your Dressing
Creating your salad dressing gives you the ability to customize it to your preferences, while also allowing you to steer clear of the kind of unidentified components that are present in processed versions. Vinaigrette is a mixture of an oil and an acid that may be made in a matter of seconds. It can be mixed with a wide variety of oils, vinegar, and citrus juices, as well as shallots, mustard, fresh or dried herbs, honey, pesto, yogurt, and tahini. The possibilities for flavors and combinations are virtually limitless. You may also experiment with warm dressings to add yet another dimension to the salad experience, or you can make your own lighter versions of popular salad dressings such as blue cheese or buttermilk ranch.
Grab the Veggie Peeler
Carrots and cucumbers often have their skins removed with the help of a vegetable peeler; but, if you continue to peel them, the vegetables will transform into ribbons, which will result in a salad that is more delicate and visually intriguing. In addition, the peeler is an excellent tool for reducing the thickness of items that would generally be cooked, such as zucchini or asparagus, so that they can be more easily consumed raw.
Fire Up the Grill
If you enjoy the flavor of the grill that is infused with fire but are still looking for something light to eat for supper, you might want to consider cooking your favorite ingredients over coals. In addition to the conventional choices of zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions, you can also grill lettuce, which results in lettuce that is warm, somewhat wilted, and a little smokey.
Go for the Grain
The addition of your preferred grain, whether it be quinoa, farro, or even pasta, does more than transform the salad into a more substantial dish; it also adds texture and flavor, which is a victory in the battle against boring salads. This is a fantastic way to make use of leftovers; you can use a substantial amount if you want grains to be the star of the show, or you can just sprinkle them on top to make your salad a little bit more interesting. Furthermore, do not be afraid to experiment with grains that are not as widely known, such as freekeh, wheat berries, and wild rice.
Keep It Crunchy
When it comes to a bowl of components that are soft and sensitive, a little bit of crunch goes a long way. It is simple to add a handful of nuts or seeds, whether they are raw or roasted, and they provide an additional dose of nourishment. To create a salad in the style of Panzanella, you might try including chunks of grilled bread, or you could choose crispy breadcrumbs if you prefer a more subtle amount of crunch. Pita chips that have been roasted or tortilla chips that have been crushed are two other simple possibilities. Also, grated Parmesan can be toasted to create cheese crisps known as frico, which are ideal for Caesar salads but can be used to enrich any variety of salads.
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