Salad making is an art form in itself. Today, let’s dive into how to craft the perfect salad~ at least my version of the perfect salad.
To be honest, I used to struggle for a very long time to eat salads and greens. Not that I hated it but I just couldn’t get myself to eat it. Did any of y’all feel the same?? Probably it was just my mindset. Everyone then kept telling me ”Oh! You’ve got to lose weight and you can only do that by going on a salad diet.” So, for the longest time salads were a big NO-NO for me.
Anyway, as years passed my mindset changed. I grew as a person and also to this day I enjoy a good salad every now and then. I learnt to enjoy the complex flavours of natural greens and other salad fillers. I’ve learnt how to incorporate salads in my diet. I’ve learnt how to craft the perfect salad for me.
So, what is a perfect salad and how can you craft a salad masterpiece?
HOW TO CRAFT THE PERFECT SALAD
There’s a few key elements to keep in mind while crafting the perfect salad. However, this should be according to your own preference and choice. Think of how you’d prefer it. Salad can be fun too.
GET CREATIVE AND EAT SALADS
Whenever you create something artistic or worthwhile you’d always like to enhance its beauty creatively. So, the first step on creating the perfect salad is to make sure it is creatively constructed. Use all your creativity and explore various techniques of cooking while making a salad. Because not all salads have to be raw neither do all elements of a salad have to be raw.
You can add some cooked elements like hard-boiled eggs or cooked chicken breast. Char-grill or griddle some aubergines/eggplants, peppers, courgettes, snap peas, etc. and add them to your salad for that smoky flavour note.
How about adding some fried crispy onions to your salad or even some crispy bacon or pancetta? We all love some crispy bites to our foods so why not our salads too? Go ahead and add those sweet caramelised fried onions to your salads.
Also, you could add some boiled sweetcorn or chickpeas. Even some quinoa or couscous makes wonderful Mediterranean salads. You could even add boiled potatoes to your salads.
Then, finally make sure your salad is appealing to eat. Add a pop of colour with some carrots or beetroot or any other colourful veggie. Also, make sure you serve your salad well in a nice pretty salad bowl. I promise you, you’ll love it.
SALAD TEXTURE IS KEY
What is your salad elements texture jam? Crunchy, soft, gooey, etc. ? How do you like your salad? Comment down below and let me know.
For me my salad crunch is critical. That’s the best element of any salad as per my disposition. You can add some nuts, seeds, croutons, etc. or even some crunchy veggies like carrots, radishes, peppers, etc. for some added crunch.
Some soft greens like spinach, spicy rocket, watercress, etc. are perfect salad fillers too. Then there’s some other greens which are super crunchy like the romaine lettuce or the iceberg lettuce. Also, add some fruits for that added crunch. I like watermelon, peaches, pears, apples, grapes, etc. in my salads too.
You can also have some soft cheese added to your salad like feta. I think Feta is a very creamy yet versatile cheese for salads. What are your thoughts about it? Other elements for texture are boiled eggs, quinoa, herbs, etc.
I don’t think anyone of us enjoys a dry salad. At least I do not. Salad dressing is as important as having a bath… Okay! I don’t know why I came up with that analogy but whatever. Let’s give it that quirky importance. The salad dressing generally only enhances the natural taste of all the other elements added to the salad.
Salad dressings can be creamy or sour or sweet or spicy or even a mixture of all. Anything you like really…
A creamy dressing generally goes well with more acidic ingredients. So you can pair dressings like honey mustard, or a flavoured mayo or even any other creamy salad dressing with tart or acidic flavours like tomatoes, green apples, crisp pears, capers, etc.
Vinegar or lemon-based dressings or even a vinaigrette match well with rich creamy items like cheese or avocado.
So that takes us to the next important and vital element of the perfect salad. It is making the salad taste rich. Add something rich for an extra burst of flavour.
Mayo gives a rich creamy flavour. Also, add more fun elements for that added richness. You can achieve this by adding various creamy cheeses, avocado, nuts, smoked salmon, ham, chicken, etc.
You can use some nut oil like hazelnut or walnut oil to dress your leafy salads.
Besides these few key points to remember while crafting the perfect salad there’s also many more other key elements too which we shall discuss on another occasion.
SOME SALAD IDEAS
If you’re feeling festive then do not forget to try out my festive salad recipe. It is just the perfect kind to satiate your taste buds. The highlight is that recipe is my favourite salad dressing.
A classically made tomato salad is perfect for those sunny and warm summer days. Nothing can beat the freshness of drizzled fruity olive oil, freshly crushed peppercorns and some finely chopped fresh basil. You can get a summer favourite masterpiece is just few minutes. To this add a few food ornaments like black olives, buffalo mozzarella, etc. and enhance its flavour beauty.
Fruits can be added to any savoury salad but have to be chosen wisely. I prefer using fruits like mango, pairs, apples, etc. in some of my salads. Try out a mixture of watermelon, fresh mint, fresh coriander or parsley, black olives, red onion and feta cheese with a simple vinaigrette. This salad is a regular summer time favourite and is both savoury as well as refreshing.
Another good and refreshing salad would be a raw beetroot salad. This goes well with Scandinavian flavours like fresh dill and some mustard seeds. This recipe is one of Nigella Lawson‘s summer favourites.
In India, they make a simple salad out of tomatoes and onions. They sometimes even add cucumbers to it and this salad is called Laccha. It is easy to prepare and goes well as an accompaniment with grilled(tandoori) meats and breads like naan.
Kosambri are salad like dishes from Mysore, India. They are generally a combination of carrots, radishes or even some lentils added to it. There are many variations to this. It is an excellent salad served alongside most Indian dishes.
You can also have a summery cold pasta salad. Add some fresh mozzarella to this salad along with some par-boiled veggies. It is surely going to look colourful and vibrant.
Go on then, make those refreshing summer salads this summer and if you end up making anything worthwhile make sure to tag us in a post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #deliciouscravingsatvaniaskitchen.
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Thank you for joining in. Happy clean eating!