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I Make Friends With Salad

So we’re not cooking anything today. Well, I guess you can if you like eating wilted lettuce, but we’re talking about important taste combinations nonetheless. I don’t know if it is the sunny day, the warm weather, or the abundance of fresh avocado at my grocery store (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there are some big bonuses to living in California, the agricultural capitol of America), but I’ve just been nuts over salad.  However, as I’ve learned, there are good ways and bad ways to make a salad.

So since salads are just lists of ingredients for the most part anyway, let’s do away with a formal recipe and stick with mixing and matching and spinning some cool combinations. Salads are the jam-bands of food and it almost pains me a little bit to say that because I’m not really into jam-bands (jammers, feel free to flame away – this is a food post so it’d be fun if the comments were a flambé). But yeah, basically, salads let us mix and match our favorite foods in an easy, quick way. With that said, here are some combinations I love:

  1. Walnuts and fruit on spinach: OK, so chunks of papaya might not work (maybe it will, I haven’t tried it), but apples, raisins and even strawberries have worked for me in the past. Dried fruit or fresh both have the potential to be delicious.
  2. Avocado and kalamata olives on any leafy base: the smooth, rich creaminess of avocado is perfect when paired with the sour, rich punch provided by olives. Olives that have too fancy a marinade tend to take over and overpower all of the other flavors, so choose your olives judiciously.
  3. Screw the leafy greens, let’s get to the good stuff: following the path blazed by Greek salads with tomato, cucumber, red onion, olives, feta cheese, and a delicious balsamic vinegar/olive oil/fresh herb marinade, it’s possible to tweak or change or mix up that basic formula and get something unique and delicious. Don’t care for red onions, substitute scallions, or heck, leave it out entirely. And that’s the beauty of the salad – it’s easy to personalize it and maximize deliciousness.

How about you? What do you like to combine?

10 replies on “I Make Friends With Salad”

I love the leafy greens – I’ve been known to eat a head of lettuce, by itself, on occasion.

I’m a big fan of chef salads – add some ham or turkey or even pepperoni and a salad goes from great to amazing.  Recently I’ve become a fan of salads with breaded chicken too.  The chicken needs to be warm though.

I read this headline to mean you make friends by giving people salad. :D

Spinach/walnut/craisin/feta is my go-to salad. I saute the walnuts a little in olive oil, sprinkle vinegar and pepper on them, and toss it over the rest. But I would like to change it up more…good suggestions here!

Any salad + bacon = yum.
Also a big fan of crumbled goat cheese (or chevre for fancy days), hard boiled egg, sunflower seeds, or garbanzo beans (I love me some protein). To the fruit category, I’ll add my favorites of dried cherries or pear chunks. I usually make some kind of vinegarette, or on really lazy days just a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, straight no chaser.

This has reminded me of how few veggies I’ve eaten today…

hard boiled or even poached egg can be a good addition. As can cheeeeeese.

My go-to dressing tends to be the vinaigrette we’ve always made in my family. Mix together ~1 tbsp of dijon mustard with ~1tbsp of nice vinegar, then gradually add olive oil while whisking. You end up with a lovely vinaigretty emulsion. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like.

This is my favorite salad that I made three times last week: any leafy greens ( ruby reds are especially good), grape tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, honey mustard dressing. If you shake the salad with the dressing and leave it for a few hurs, it softens the mushrooms a bit and it’s soooooo delicious.

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