It’s easy to forget how diverse the world of salad actually is.
We’re all familiar with the standard café salad. And whilst there are a lucky few who look forward to Caesar salads two/three times a day, most of us would benefit from getting a little more creative with our vegetable intake.
A hearty salad is, after all, one of the easiest way to sneak in several of your five servings of fruit and veg a day. Their general low caloric density means that having one for lunch or dinner is a great way to load up on essential nutrients and fiber whilst maintaining a low cholesterol diet.
But enough of that - we all know that salads are meant to be good for us!
The challenge is this: how do we make a packed salad something you/loved ones get excited about?
To answer, we’ve drawn on three basic, but very underrated, tips from top chefs to guide you as you expand your salad horizons.
1. Make salad satisfying
"Unless it’s a starter salad to some big meal (in which case you want to keep things basic), add something to your salad with some substance."
- Aida Mollenkamp (chef, television personality, and food writer)
It’s hard to get excited about a meal that doesn’t fill you up. Make sure you’re eating a large enough portion (they take up more space in a bowl than a belly). A small, uninspired salad will leave you hungry after an hour or two of washing the dishes.
For maximum satisfaction, ensure you’ve added sufficient protein and fiber to the bowl. Some popular choices are grilled chicken breast, legumes, eggs, quinoa, low-fat feta and seafood.
2. Make salad interesting
"Long gone is the boring side salad.”
- Rachel Ray, celebrity cook
For those of us recycling the same formulas, remember that salads belong to all corners of the globe, East and West.
The best salads contain a variety of textures, flavors and sensations, with varying levels of crunch and softness. Consider adding nuts, julienned vegetables or fruit chunks to your salad. Mix raw vegetables with roasted vegetables. Go crazy!
This week, we’re in love with Asian salads that use noodles to add an extra ‘oomph'. Our cold somen noodle salad with prawn has a homemade sesame dressing to die for and we adore this member’s Thai twist on this Tuna Chilli Salad.
3. Make salad easy
Many busy people dread every process in the kitchen that precedes eating. Rest assured it’s a simply a matter of knowing the right shortcuts.
For salads, it’s really all about freshness, so make sure you pay special attention to what you’re putting in it. Quality ingredients = delicious salad.
Keep your vegetables crisp and fresh for longer by ensuring you’re removing all moisture from your washed leaves. A salad spinner is one of the best kitchen investments you’ll ever make: simply fill it up and twirl the handle to spin the leaves dry.
‘It’s not one of those annoying gadgets that look good but you never use. The whole reason this is important is that all this water here isn’t sticking around your salad leaf… when you do a dressing, it’s going to stick to the leaf…’
- Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef
Otherwise, Mr Oliver suggests you place your leaves into a tea towel and give it a spin around your head. Whilst this may frighten your family, your salad dressing will thank you for it.
If you’re the type that often has vegetables going bad in the fridge, or isn’t able to make regular trips to the grocer for fresh produce, you might be interested in Fooddit’s new delivery service for ingredients.
Simply pick out meals from our chefs’ weekly menu to receive a cooler box of pre-portioned ingredients and accompanying recipe for your healthy meal (hint: there’s an awesome salad lined up this week!) Just saying.
And there you have it. Fooddit’s quick tips that are sure to bring out the salad lover in you. Eat your heart out!
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