Whenever I’m dining out and order a salad, I always think to myself “Oh EFF yea I can totally make this at home”, but once I’m home and ready to make a salad my mind goes completely blank as to what to put into it.
Does anyone else have this problem, or only me?!
Now that it’s summertime I naturally crave lighter, cooler meals like smoothies and salads, but I don’t want to be eating the same old chopped cucumber Greek salad time and time again.
What typically helps me get creative in the kitchen or reminds me of all the delicious recipes I make is to create quick and simple guides, such as this one: 11 ways to make your salad d*mn delicious. I hope this helps you eat boat loads of salads until the end of time!
11 Tricks to make your salad taste delicious
1. Dressings and juices matter
Whenever I’m cooking ANYTHING I always need to add some sort of tang. This is usually lemon or lime juice/zest, apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar. I feel like adding some sort of tartness or tang just completes a recipe (salads included!). So next time you whip up a salad, try adding some lemon/lime juice to your next cobb inspired salad. Dressings also greatly influence whatever recipe you are whipping up. Some of my favorite flavor combinations are: lemon and homey, balsamic and oil, avocado oil and garlic..the list can go on and on. I love making this dairy free Caesar salad dressing too!
2. Add extra flavor with garlic, onions and shallots
Shallots to me are one of my favorites, and really seem to bring together all the flavors of a salad. I also like to use fresh herbs vs. dried ones since the flavor is stronger. One of my favorite fresh herbs to use is basil in all of my cobb/Italian inspired salads and mint in my Mediterranean salads.
3. Throw in pesto
I absolutely love the flavor of pesto and I love adding it to my salads! I add it to grilled chicken salads, mozzarella salads, and chilled gluten free pasta salads with cucumber, artichoke and bell peppers.
5. Focus on a variety of veggies
These could be roasted veggies, diced cucumber and peppers, or any of your favorite go-to’s. It’s also important that you season whatever veggies you add to your salad as well to ensure you get bursting flavor in every bite. This could be a simple sprinkle of Himalayan salt and pepper, or your favorite spice blend.
6. Turn leftovers into a salad
Let’s say you make grilled salmon with a side of asparagus for dinner, but have leftover salmon. You could use the chilled leftovers the next day to make a salmon Nicoise salad. Same goes for if you have a healthy taco night and use the leftover meat or veggie filling the next day for a Mexican inspired salad. Pretty much any can be transformed into a salad the next day with the help of leafy greens!
7. Make sure your salad is crunchy
For some reason I always find crunchy salads to be more satisfying. You can step up your crunch game with sugar snap peas, peppers, apples or gluten free tortilla strips. Healthier croutons and nuts will also give it that extra crunch. Some of my favorite nuts to add to salads are pecans, walnuts and pine nuts!
8. Don’t be afraid to add grains
I know some folks who like to eat salads because they are trying to go low carb. For many, cutting carbohydrates out completely can be a challenge! Instead, add a little bit of healthy grains to your salad (without the post carb crash). I like adding a scoop of quinoa, beans, and even brown rice to certain salads to make it heartier, more satisfying and larger!
9. Always make sure to add a protein
This could be salmon, shrimp, tofu, beans, nuts, chicken, steak, hard boiled eggs, whatever type of protein you desire! Not only will adding protein to every salad make it taste more fulfilling, it will help you stay full until your next meal. As many of us know, protein should always be the star of the show.
10. Add some sort of fat
This could be avocado, cheese, nuts, turkey bacon. Adding fat to your salads helps ensure that you are getting all of your macro-nutrients (and micro-nutrients from the produce) into one bowl. I love adding avocado in the form of dressing since it can really add extra creaminess to your salad. My favorite cheeses to add to salads are goats cheese and sheep milk feta cheese (they are easier to digest).
11. Don’t be afraid of fruit
Some of my FAVORITE salads incorporate fruit! I love making apple, pecan, feta, balsamic spinach salad and I also love to incorporate mandarins for a mandarin, berries and goat cheese salad. Whatever fruit is in season, you can add it to a salad! You can start off by whipping up with watermelon avocado salad.
What are your favorite tasty salad hacks? Share your favorite recipes with me!