One of our PrettyFood viewers posed the following question: I’m trying to eat more salads, but I get so bored with lettuce, lettuce, lettuce. Do you have any ideas for making salad a little more exciting?
We have lots of ideas!
Vary the type of lettuce you use. Try a mix that has herbs in it, or go back to a classic like Red Leaf Lettuce and get away from the bagged stuff. Take a walk on the wild side and use Napa Cabbage or Savoy Cabbage in place of lettus. Or leave the lettuce out altogether! There are plenty of salads you can make without it, as we demonstrate in our Salads section: Avocado, Tomato & Shallot Salad, Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Edamame Salad -the list is long.
With respect to a “regular” salad, however, and making it a little more exciting, try these ideas:
- Try different dressings! If you’re always a vinaigrette person, try a creamy dressing, and vice versa. If you make your own vinaigrette dressing, change up your ingredients. Try a different oil — perhaps a flavored olive oil, or choose avocado oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil. In place of the vinegar you customarily use, try a white balsamic, a champagne vinegar, a red wine vinegar — or even apple cider vinegar, for a change.
- Use some small cookie cutters to cut thinly sliced begetables (zucchini, carrots, daikon radish) into shapes and add them to your salad
- Add some of our Five-Spice Nuts or Squirrel’s Delight Spiced Nuts
- Toss in some fruit -thinly sliced strawberries, some fresh raspberries, a sprinkle of blueberries, a little bit of fresh pear, some Granny Smith apple
- Add tons of fresh vegetables -and don’t just think about the ordinary ones (cucumber, carrot, tomato). Dice up some zucchini, yellow squash, blanched broccoli. Add some color with colored peppers.
- Vary the way you cut up your ingredients. If you always have your lettuce in fairly large pieces, try doing a chopped salad instead, where all the ingredients have been chopped small. Or try julienning your vegetables, or cutting them on a diagonal.
- Use some shreds of purple cabbage for a pop of color.
- Don’t forget avocado!
- How about some hard-boiled egg, or another protein source, such as thinly sliced chicken, or some cooked salmon, or even steak. Bacon also works.
- Onions will also help, and you have your choice. I typicaly use thinly sliced red onion or diced green onion. If you’re using a vinaigrette dressing, let your cut-up onions soak in the dressing for a while first to “pickle” them a bit. You can even use just a little French Fried Onions on top.
- Say “Cheese, please.” Change it up a bit with a cheese of your choice – bleu, feta, goat cheese, bleu cheese, cheddar, monterrey jack, parmesan.
- Speaking of Parmesan, rather than adding shredded or grated parmesan on top, create some Parmesan cheese shavings that are bigger (say 2 inches by 3 inches) to lay on top.