I’ve gotta level with you. I love salads. I love them every day, and I love them every way. I know that some people have trouble choking down their greens, but I think there is a salad lover in all of us- you just need to get the necessities covered. I could probably write an entire blog about my daily veggie parties, but I’ll try to keep it concise. Salad is my go-to when I hear the Pot Luck call to action and, to toot my own horn, I have yet to disappoint….I get it from my mama (really though). So the next time you find yourself needing some good nutrients, try sprucing it up a little with my fool-proof plan!
1. Find some quality greens
The stronger, the better. I like arugula, kale, and power greens the best. If in doubt, I choose the locally grown variety because they tend to bring their own pizzazz to the table. When I was younger, I was a purely iceberg lettuce kind of gal but I’m telling you- ditch it! We’re going to spice it up later, so even if you don’t typically die for Kale, give it a try. Maybe even throw some shredded Brussels Sprouts in…hey, it’s your party.
2. This Salad is an Equal-Opportunity Employer
Fruits! Nuts! Roots! Seeds! Everyone is welcome in my salad bowl. My favorite? Without going crazy, I love to incorporate a good, bright fruit (think pomegranate, raspberries, pears, or grapefruit) and a solid root vegetable (roasted beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc). Add some pepitas or sliced almonds for crunch.
3. Make it a Meal
Salad doesn’t want to be on the sidelines. Salad can pack enough protein, fats, and nutrients to keep you energized without bogging you down….if you add the right fixins. I prefer to keep it meatless by slicing up a healthy dose of avocado or a scoop of quinoa. In my non-vegan days, I used to beef this veggie deal up with goat cheese and bacon…but I didn’t say that….
4. DIY Dressings
This is a MUST. Most store-bought, prepackaged salad dressings are the silent killers of all things delightful in the garden world. Splurge on some good oils, fresh herbs, and a citrus fruit of your choosing. Think Italian! Parsley, Basil, and Thyme are an excellent trio (and you can often find them all together in one pack!), Himalayan Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, and my all-time best kept secret ingredient: Garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. This part may take a bit of trial and error, but I always start out with approximately equal parts of each (except salt- go slowly with her because you cannot unsalt a salad), squeezing the citrus in as I go. I usually end up needing more garlic than anything else, but eventually you will find your own finesse. Put it all in the bowl right on top of the goods, douse it with oil, and shake that thang! I prefer to let it sit in the fridge for a little bit so that all the flavors have time to mingle. (Again, for the non vegan saladpreneur, this is an excellent place for some fresh grated parmesean).
5. Share it!
It’s nearly impossible to know how well you’ve done until you’ve shared it with good company and conversation. My mother has been making this salad for decades, and she’ll be the first to tell you that the most important thing to keep in mind is Keep it Fresh. Vegetables that have grown up in a good atmosphere are much more likely to lend their uniquely delish flavor to your pallet, so go ahead and be picky! Your dinner party patrons (and your body!) will thank you.