Salads; one of the most controversial meals on the planet. After childhoods spent under strict duress to ‘eat our greens’ sometimes tackling a big old bowl of salad can seem like the furthest thing from fun. But, salads are a minefield of culinary potential. You can chuck anything in a salad and make it taste great. From summer zests to green spring flings, autumnal bowls of warmth, and winter comfort cobs – we have rounded up ten fabulous ingredients to change your opinion of the sassy salad…
There’s something wildly romantic about pomegranates. The bejewelled ruby fruit that hails from native shores that stretch all the way from Iran to the Himalayas; the pomegranate whispers of soft climates and ancient civilizations. Scattering a handful of pomegranates in a chicken salad or in a feta salad brings a beautiful sweetness and will turn a plate into perfectly poised eye candy.
If you eat fish then adding a slab of seabass, fresh tuna flakes, salted anchovies, or steamed tender salmon can take your salad to a whole new level of success. Fresh fish in salads is an amazing way to bring a boost of healthy protein.
Seeds and Nuts
Sunflower seeds scattered across a warm pumpkin salad, peanuts on a crunchy Asian salad, and walnuts with your drizzled honey and goats cheese salad – seeds and nuts are firm favourites to bring texture into any dish. Not only will they lend a dressy air to your platters but they will also bring that superfood boost to take your salad to dizzying new heights.
Turn a dry salad into something spectacular simply by adding a drizzle of tahini. The crushed sesame paste is like the savoury version of peanut butter and can be whipped into a delectable dressing with a glug of olive oil and a twist of lemon. Best served over middle eastern style salads containing goodies like fresh chopped cucumber, tomato, parsley, and even spiced chickpeas if you are seeking something more substantial.
If you are craving that crunch and a little bit of guilt-free munching, then crush up some baked tortilla chips and scatter them over your salad. This salty goodness works wonders in salads with a Mexican twist; think a dash of lime, a handful of kidney or black beans, and tons of smashed up avocado.
Fresh cut homegrown herbs can turn a sad salad into a MasterChef worthy contender. Whether you add some fragrant basil to your Caprese salad or if you chop up some parsley and cilantro – it just adds a bouquet of taste and sensory sophistication to the final flourish. Make sure you pick gentle herbs that aren’t too bitter as you don’t want to overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.
Oven Baked Kale
Get kale right and its like tearing into a bag of potato chips. Kale that is oven roasted, drizzled with quality olive oil, and scattered with a few chilli flakes and salt is sure to blow your mind. Add this to a salad and it will bring an earthy warmth that is hard to beat. Especially great in winter warmer salads or when paired with sweet potato.
A glut of grains in your salad will take it from meh snack to magic feast. Whether you go for chewy quinoa, wild rice, or fluffy buttered couscous, grains can provide a glorious base for which to build your salad empire. Couscous is great for Moroccan and exotic style salads, wild rice can fit in anywhere, and quinoa lends itself well to Mediterranean inspired delights.
Cheese can make a salad fun again and having a little fat is an essential ingredient when talking about perfecting salad balance. Feta is a firm favourite in salad school, especially when paired with fat black olives and red onion. Parmesan or any hard-Italian cheese can be grated liberally over a salad to bring an oomph of salt. Goats cheese is always beloved and goes great with greens thanks to its creamy elegant texture.
How do you make your salads spectacular? Share your recipes in the comments below!