If you are looking for some great ideas for healthy salads, then you have found the right page!
When the weather gets warmer, there’s nothing I enjoy preparing and eating than a colorful and fresh salad! I like the fact that there are virtually no rules as to what goes into a mixture. All manner of vegetables, fruit, pasta, and pulses can be combined to make the most Sensational Salads!
In this section, I will try to show you some great ideas for salads and run you through the ingredients and techniques that you might need to make up some sensational salad recipes.
When salad greens are mentioned, you could be excused for automatically thinking ‘lettuce.’ Yes, lettuce leaves are probably amongst the most favorite salad ingredients, but there are other greens that are widely used to enhance the flavor of your salad.
Salad Greens – Lettuces
Cos Lettuce – Cos lettuce (also called Romaine Lettuce) has a firm texture and a slightly nutty flavor and is a favorite when making Caesar Salad.
Little Gem – A small, compact lettuce with a firm heart and a distinct flavor, good served in wedges in your salad.
Iceberg Lettuce – Perhaps the most common of salad lettuces is the iceberg. It is relatively mild in flavor but does have a beautiful, crunchy texture and is good when mixed in with stronger flavored leaves.
Lollo Rosso – A loose-leaf salad lettuce, mild in flavor but with a wonderful purple-red color to add visual contrast to your salad. Because it is mild in flavor, it is best mixed with stronger flavored salad leaves.
Lollo Biondo – Similar in flavor to lollo rosso, it has a pretty, curly edge to give your salad an excellent visual attraction.
Oak Leaf Lettuce – A loose leafed lettuce with a mild flavor and leaves ranging in color from pale green through pink to a deep maroon.
The Chicory Family
Curly Endive and Escarole – have a distinct, slightly bitter flavor and are best combined with sweeter, milder leaves.
Batavian Endive – similar to Escarole but with a slightly sweeter taste which can withstand a well flavored dressing.
Lambs Lettuce (Corn Salad) – this is a delicious sweet flavored leaf that makes a wonderful addition to a salad. It’s also great on its own when used as a garnish for other dishes.
Rocket – This little leaf has grown in popularity, and it has a nice, distinct, almost peppery-lemon flavor, which goes great with any of the milder leaves.
Spinach – Baby spinach leaves make a fantastic salad. Either mix them with other salad leaves or use them on their own. They are incredibly nutritious, being a good source of iron and vitamins A, B, and C when eaten raw.
Watercress – A strong tasting salad leaf with a peppery flavor. Excellent when mixed with milder flavored leaves.
Add Crunch And Texture To Your Salad With Vegetables
Salad leaves and lettuces will often form the basis of a salad, but almost all vegetables can be used either as part of the salad or the main ingredient of the salad.
Many of the salad recipes will use vegetables that are simply prepared and raw, but they can also be used steamed or grilled to add an exciting dimension to your salad.
Celery – I love to eat celery on its own and prefer it when it is a darker green, but finely sliced white or green celery makes a great addition to a salad.
Fennel – use it raw, cut into fine strips and add it to mixed salads. Fennel has a distinct aniseed flavor and tastes best with more bland vegetables and a creamy dressing.
Cucumber – clean, crisp, and cooling – cucumber is excellent in many salad dishes with a well-flavored dressing.
Carrot and Cabbage – shred them and mix together with a dressing for the ever-popular coleslaw.
Courgette – young courgettes are great simply thinly sliced and combined with a yogurt dressing.
Onions and Spring Onions – my personal favorite is red onion, thinly sliced. They are excellent in tomato salads with a good olive oil dressing.
Peppers – these are such a versatile salad vegetable. Slice them and add them raw to mixed or bean salads or roast or grill them and serve with garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil to make a rich Italian salad.
Green Beans – these can be trimmed and cooked for a few minutes until just tender. Add to other green salads or make a superb salad by combining with chopped tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
Mushrooms – great for providing texture to a salad. Wipe clean with a damp kitchen towel and slice thinly for use in mixed salads, or, for a more unusual side salad, combine with peanuts and avocado.
Asparagus – steam them until tender and add to green salads for a real luxury flavor.
Avocado – makes a beautiful addition to mixed green salads. Sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice after slicing to prevent it discoloring.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes, for me, are an essential salad ingredient! I love those that have ripened on the vine. They have a much better flavor. Try combining different colored tomatoes to add visual attraction to salads.
Fruit For Salads
Fruit, of course, comes into its own in fruit salads, but there is a place for fruit in many savory salads as well when used to complement other flavors.
Apples – they have a lovely crisp texture and sweet taste and are fantastic when combined with softer ingredients.
Pears – excellent in all sorts of salads, but do try them with rocket or other strong-flavored leaves.
Citrus Fruits – add a sweet, tangy sharpness to a salad, and they also go well in pasta salads with fennel or celery and a creamy dressing to bring the flavors together.
Pineapple – adds color to your salad, and its sweet flavor contrasts well with more bitter salad ingredients.