Salads are deliciously light and fresh, and provide an easy way to meet your daily fruit and vegetable intake. Crisp, cool salads are great year-round, but a tasty salad in the summer time just tastes better. If you’re crafting your own salad at home, here are some ingenious tips and tricks to take your salad to the next level.
Don’t limit yourself to iceberg lettuce. Explore different varieties, like little gem, radicchio, or Bibb. You may even consider using cabbage, fennel, bitter greens, or roots. Fresh herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro, can really add to your salad as well.
Wash & Dry
Whatever you decide to use, be sure you wash everything thoroughly. A salad spinner is a great asset, but you must be sure to use it correctly. Start by filling the bowl of the spinner with cold water. Place your trimmed greens in the basket (work in batches if necessary). Lower the basket into the water and gently wash your greens. Let them sit for a few minutes to allow the dirt to settle at the bottom. Lift the basket and empty the water from the bowl. Repeat these steps of you are working in batches or if your greens still look or feel dirty. Once you’re satisfied, return the basket to the bowl and spin your salad until the greens don’t give off any more liquid.
Massaging your greens with a generous amount of salt, especially tough greens like kale, collards, and cabbage, can do wonders for your salad. The salt with both season and soften up your greens.
Experiment With Veggies
Sure, you can toss together raw veggies, but cooking them can add new flavors and textures.
- Roast: Try roasting carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, turnips, or dates and adding them to your salads for a yummy caramelized, sweet element.
- Grill: Try grilling sturdy greens like kale, romaine, or Treviso radicchio, and then add crunchy raw veggies and a creamy dressing.
- Pickle: For an acidic kick, try pickled chiles, cucumbers, red onions, rhubarb or even raisins.
A great salad combines a smart balance of flavors and textures. If your salad is mostly crunchy, add a soft element. Is your salad too rich? Add something acidic to contrast it.
If you need to add a little crunch, don’t just go for the croutons. Sesame seeds, crispy fried onions or shallots, or even seasoned panko crumbs add a flavorful crunch. Another way to add a delicious crunchy texture is to add toasted nuts. Think toasted walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or even hazelnuts.
When it comes to dressing, the standard 3 parts fat to 1 part acid has been modified to 2 parts fat to 1 part acid. Here are some ideas for tasty combinations:
- Yogurt / Lime / Harissa
- Mayo / Rice Vinegar / Gochujang / Grated Garlic
- Olive Oil / Apple Cider Vinegar / Maple Syrup
- Neutral Oil / Rice Vinegar / Miso / Grated Ginger
Season, Taste, Repeat
Every element of your salad should be seasoned – leaves, dressing, add-ins (roasted or raw veggies, croutons, nuts, protein). Taste it as you go and adjust seasonings and/or ingredients as you go.
Dress To Impress
An underdressed salad is an east fix, but there’s no going back from an overdressed salad. To ensure that every leaf is coated but not soggy, be sure to execute these steps just before serving:
- Start with a really big bowl. It should be at least 25 percent bigger than the ingredients you’re planning to toss.
- Don’t throw everything in. Things that will sink to the bottom or get bruised or soggy should be added on top after you’ve mixed your salad.
- Nix the tongs. Thoroughly washed hands are gentle and more efficient than tongs.
Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm for breakfast (until 10:30am) or lunch. Enjoy our signature sandwiches or fresh salads made to order. Dine in, order to-go, or have our food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.