I’m expecting two different reactions right now. Some of you hear (or read) the word salad and get excited. You can practically taste the fresh veggies and feel the crunch of every bite and are even drooling a little at the picture above. It’s okay, I can relate. Some of you have quite the opposite reaction. You think salad and scoff “rabbit food!” You know a salad can’t possibly satisfy you for a meal and you’re dreaming of steak right now. Or maybe you’re in a situation like I was in when Eric and I started dating, where I loved salads, and he liked casaer salad as a side for his meat and that was the extent of his willingness for salads. I decided that he just hadn’t had the right kinds of salads and I would get him to enjoy them. I started small, by making spectacular salads as a side (If you’re trying to get your husband to be willing to eat some vegetarian meals, don’t start with salad! Try something like this or this) to go with some kind of meat dish. Then I started serving salad as a meal but with meat in it. He was amazed! He dubbed my salad creations “Yummy Salads” and said he never knew salad could be so good. Want to know the secrets to making your own “Yummy Salads”? Read on!
There are a few key things to keep in mind while making a salad: Colors, Textures, Plating, Quality.
Colors: The more colors you have in the salad, the more appetizing it appears. Use different types of lettuce for varied shades of green along with broccoli, cucumbers, snow peas, edamame, etc. You can get red, yellow or orange from bell peppers along with carrots, tomatoes, banana peppers and yellow squash. Purple cabbage is quite striking and you can even include fruit like pomegranate seeds, blueberries or grapes.
Textures: This is where I think a lot of people have problems with salad. They often want some sort of meat like texture, or texture other than vegetables. I almost always include cheese in my salads (usually feta or goat cheese, sometimes cheddar, mozzarella or parmesan). I love cheese and it also gives a chewy texture to the salad that keeps Eric from missing meat, it also adds protein which helps you feel full longer. Avocado is another great texture to include. It’s also fine to put some meat on your salad. Some really affordable options are imitation crab (which is made from fish), crumbled bacon, or a slice of lunch meat torn up. You can also use some leftover chicken or steak. I like to include a few croutons, some torn up pita or slightly stale bread to add another texture. A very important key to texture is not overdoing it on the dressing! It should just add some flavor, not drown your salad.
Plating: This is often the key to getting anyone to eat anything. If you arrange food to look amazing, people want to eat it. These salads only took 5 minutes to put together, a fast and easy meal. But when I set it in front of Eric he oohd and aahd about them looking like art. Arranging your food rather than simply dumping it on a plate makes it more appetizing.
Quality: This is so important in all cooking, but especially salads. You need fresh ingredients! It doesn’t matter how pretty your salad is, if your vegetables are wilted or poor quality, it won’t taste good. I recommend a farmer’s market or local grower for the best vegetables.
Salads are a great way to get tons of vitamins, I often use spinach instead of lettuce and love all the good stuff I’m filling my body with! Don’t be worried if your family starts out resistant to the idea of salads. Remember, start small (side salads), include protein, and remember colors, textures, plating and quality. I can’t promise they’ll start loving salads, but I know my husband did! I’m going start including more salads on my blog but here’s a couple more for you. They’re all meatless and yummy! Berry Salad, Spinach Pasta Salad, Avocado Salad