Spring is just around the corner, which means warmer temperatures, daffodils, and ditching the heavy, winter comfort food in favor of lighter springtime fare.
Nothing celebrates spring to me like a fresh, tasty salad, but your typical salad can be….well….typical. Iceburg or romaine lettuce, tomato, maybe a bit of onion and ranch dressing or vinaigrette. Bo-RING! Instead of tossing together the same old mix of greens and dressing, here are some of my favorite salad ideas to make salad the star of the meal!
1. Mix up those greens! Instead of the standard lettuce options, choose greens with a little bit of zing! Try arugula, endive, microgreens, or shredded purple cabbage to make your salad snappy.
2. Combine textures. For me, salad is all about texture. Delicate lettuce, crunchy nuts, creamy avocado, tender pieces of fruit. Every bite is a little bit different, and that’s part of the goodness.
3. Make it a rainbow. When you picture salad, you probably imagine a big bowl of green. That’s no fun! Choose produce from across the color spectrum, like beets, berries, orange or yellow pepper, artichoke hearts, and olives. Not only will all those colors make a beautiful salad, they also mean lots of nutrients on your plate!
4. Get creative with your dressings. Ranch or a balsamic vinaigrette is all well and good, but an interesting dressing can take your salad to the next level. Try making your vinaigrette with interesting oils and vinegars (walnut oil with sage-infused vinegar, anyone?) or mix up a creamy peanut- or tahini-based dressing for your next salad. Yum!
5. Combine hot and cold ingredients. A salad doesn’t have to be a totally cold dish. Top your crispy cold greens with sauteed tofu or tempeh, for example. Caramelized onions make a great salad topping, too!