The secret to a fabulous salad is to balance taste, textures and colours.
Nothing dresses up a dinner table like a large colourful bowl of salad, bursting with flavours, freshness, and yummy goodness. Follow our salad guide to get started, but don’t stop there. There are a zillion ingredients, flavours and tastes to explore. Get started, get creative!
Make your salad colourful: While you don’t need to have the entire rainbow on your plate, try a good mix of at least some of these: reds (carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon, grapefruit, oranges); leafy greens, cucumbers capsicum, green chillies; blue/black grapes, raisins, berries; white paneer, cheese, tofu; tan & yellow (pasta, bread croutons, chick peas, corn).
Get in a mix of textures: A bit of crunch adds hugely to the joy of a salad. Crisp veggies, toasted nuts, crunchy seeds, creamy cheese…whatever you like.
Incorporate 5 tastes: salty, sweet, sour, pungent and bitter. An easy way to get this right is to simply get your mix of colours right.
Dress it up: Your dressing should have the same balance of sweet, salt, sour and pungent. Build on this simple formula – oil, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper: Feel free to substitute any of these 5 with different ingredients. For example, try lime juice, or balsamic instead of plain vinegar; use honey or jaggery instead of sugar; try mustard or wasabi for pungent. Be creative.
The secret ingredient: Transcend taste barriers by taking your salad to the next level. Add the mysterious umami flavuor to your dressing. Some ingredients that work well are, grated garlic, bacon bits, miso. Go on, look up some more!
– For a more meaty meal, your protein could be boiled and shredded chicken, roast lamb or tuna chunks.
– Get your flavours right and even a simple combination of 3-4 ingredients work like a charm. Some classic combos are:
- Tomato & basil (throw in some cheese—goat, feta or mozzarella—if you like)
- Watermelon & feta
- Apple, walnut, celery
Visual appeal: Finally, and most importantly, your salad should first look great!
Salad in a jar
Mason jars are big these days. Take one on a picnic, to work or a pot luck dinner, they are a great way to make a salad ahead of time and have it looking fresh as if it were just made, when you’re ready for it.
Some simple stuff to remember when you’re packing that yummy jar:
1. The dressing goes in at the bottom: to ensure your salad doesn’t get soggy
2. Then in goes the grain, protein and anything big and chunky: this protects the next layer from getting wet.
3. The flavor/texture enhancers go next: nuts, seeds, berries, raisins and cheeses.
4. The leafy greens go in last.
So when you upturn that jar, the greens will land first and make the salad bed.