Ten Tips for Tempting Salads | Natural Gourmet Institute

Ten Tips for Tempting Salads

Posted June 1, 2018

As summer approaches and fresh produce fills farmers’ market stands and CSA boxes, we also tend to look for fresher, lighter meals. Salads are a perfect solution, but how can we make them delicious and satisfying, and keep them healthy? Olivia Roszkowski, Chef Instructor and Creative Content Developer, shares her tips for the perfect salad.

  1. Diversify your greens! Alternate textures and flavors by including sharp, bitter greens like radicchio and arugula while adding crunch and lightness with romaine. Explore local varieties or grow your own for an added burst of flavor.
  2. Add fresh herbs. This lends bright pops of flavor to your salad. Think cilantro, chives, parsley, or tarragon.
  3. Include a plant protein. Try roasted chickpeas, crumbled smoky tempeh, simmered lentils, baked tofu, or quinoa falafel.
  4. Make it a bowl. Add grains to form a hearty base and to add chewiness and a nutty flavor. Grains also help keep you feeling satisfied longer. Think farro, barley, or even leftover brown rice.
  5. Incorporate ferments. Add ruby kraut, pickled carrots, or fermented kimchi to include probiotics and fresh, crunchy flavor.
  6. Don’t forget good fats. They will keep you satiated and can turn your ordinary salad into a meal. Think avocado, eggs, or roasted miso salmon.
  7. Balance your flavors. Include something from each taste:
    • Sweet – roasted squash
    • Salty – kalamata olives
    • Sour / Tart – pickled red onions
    • Bitter – kale or endive
    • Umami – roasted shiitake bacon
  8. Add more texture. Increased variety in your foods can make for a more enjoyable sensory experience.
    • Creamy –nut cheese, avocado
    • Crumbly – feta
    • Crunchy – roasted nuts, candied seeds, crispy onions, whole wheat croutons, or crackers
  9. Don’t be afraid to add fruit. They add colors, vitamins, and a sweet touch which can help elevate even the most basic salads. Think berries, stone fruit, pears, or anything that’s available seasonally and locally.
  10. Make your own dressing. This will create a rich flavor without a lot of additives. For a balsamic dressing, whisk together 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic (minced), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and 1 teaspoon maple syrup.