Most people don’t get excited by salads. If you do, you’re lucky, and probably don’t need to read this article. However, if your homemade salads are always disappointing and you aren’t sure why, here’s how to build one that’s actually delicious and interesting:
Remember there are lots of lettuces
The base of your salad matters. Choosing the right green – or mixing greens – gives you a good foundation for other flavors. For a classic, sweeter salad, romaine is a good choice, but there’s also peppery arugula, earthy spinach, and mild, smooth butter lettuce. For even more flavor, consider tossing in some fresh herbs, as well, like basil sliced into ribbons.
Add more veggies
Lettuce should never be your only vegetable. There are so many you can choose from, either raw, cooked, or both. Raw veggies like cucumber and cherry tomatoes add freshness, while roasted broccoli, corn, sweet potatoes, and more makes you feel like your salad is more of a meal. Adding roasted veggies can also turn a summer salad into an autumn or winter one.
Texture is really important for good salads, or you’ll get bored with it. Consider adding another raw veggie, like celery or carrots, or toasted nuts. You can even add a crunchy fruit like an apple for more sweetness.
Cheese can help elevate a salad into full-on meal territory or just act as a tasty, salty garnish, depending on how you use it. For salads with lots of tomatoes, mozzarella is a great choice – you can actually make an entire salad with just sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. For just topping a salad, fine shards of Parmesan are a great choice.
Make your own dressing
The last tip for really good salads is to make a really good dressing. Even if you aren’t much of a cook, homemade dressings are very easy. The most basic is just some olive oil. To make a vinaigrette, it’s olive oil and vinegar, like balsamic. Other ingredients can include honey, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and so on. We like to stay away from heavy dressings like ranch because they so easily overwhelm the rest of the salad. However, if you think your salad will taste good with a richer, creamier dressing, just use a light hand.