Why does salad always taste better when you are not the one making them? As the weather gets warmer, more produce is coming into the season that lends to some truly amazing salads.
Jess from Peppercorn Events helped me put together this guide to help you build the perfect salad! Use these steps to make sure your salads are exciting and filling!
Base – The best way to elevate your salad is to switch up your base. I personally love getting spicy mixes or salad mixes from local farms. They are colorful, flavorful and add a little bite to your salad. You are also supporting a local business and get pick up some other items while you are there! If you prefer a bitter salad, you can add in radicchio. In the summer, you can throw heartier greens on the grill for some char marks (think whole hearts of romaine or gem lettuce).
Herbs – I love adding herbs to salads. It makes it interesting and fresh, and you can switch up the herbs based on the rest of your ingredients. At a minimum, I suggest adding chives and parsley to any salad. If you are adding in goat cheese and grilled chicken, thyme would be a great addition. If you are going to roast some butternut squash, then sage would work well.
Dressings – There is truly nothing easier to make than a vinaigrette. At its simplest, it is just oil and vinegar. My favorite vinaigrette is sherry vinegar, a good olive oil, a little bit of mustard, salt, and pepper. Feel free to experiment with different vinegars and oils, and if you need to add a touch of sweetness, honey or real maple syrup is a perfect way to balance your vinaigrette. I also love adding freshly squeezed citrus juice and reducing the amount of vinegar.
Protein – Grilled chicken is great, but I get bored of it pretty quickly. Switch up your proteins. If you are making taco seasoned meat for dinner, add some to your lunch salad the next day. You can add baked salmon by flaking it into your salad as you toss it and/or add slices of hard-boiled eggs. If you plan to bake or grill your protein, you can use your vinaigrette to season the meat prior to cooking!
Other add-ins – Nuts, fruit, cheese, seeds, roasted vegetables, and potatoes are all great additions to your salad. For nuts, crushed hazelnuts or pine nuts are great. Goat cheese and fresh mozzarella work well with a variety of salads. Adding pomegranate seeds, citrus, or berries to a salad can add some sweetness. Roasted potatoes, beets, or squash can help bulk up the salad.
- Taco flavored chicken, avocado, pickled red onions, cilantro, lime vinaigrette
- Baked salmon, roasted butternut squash, sage, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds, white balsamic vinaigrette
- Crispy tofu, soy-marinated hard-boiled eggs, orange segments, scallions, almonds, orange vinaigrette
We hope you find this guide helpful!