Do you always default to the same basic salad? Does it look a little something like this: lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, and—if you’re feeling adventurous—maybe some croutons or sprouts?
Fresh produce is an important part of any healthy diet, but if you’re bored by what’s in your salad bowl, you’re less likely to eat your fair share. Really, a salad is a creative canvas where you can play with your food, trying different and delicious combinations every time. In fact, you could literally make a unique salad every single night!
But let’s not get carried away. To start with, here are five easy salad ideas that will add much-needed variety to your dinner menu.
Traditional Greek Salad
A traditional Greek salad actually does not include greens; instead, the focus is on fresh tomato, crunchy cucumber and bell pepper, flavorful onion, salty olives, and creamy feta cheese.
To make, chop plenty of each of the following into large bite-sized chunks: fresh vine-ripened tomato, red bell pepper, peeled cucumber, and red onion. Top with pitted Kalamata olives and a generous slab of Greek feta cheese. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; or, for more complex dressing flavors, try this Greek Dressing recipe.
Best-Ever Spinach Salad
This iron-rich spinach salad includes only five ingredients for a perfect balance of flavor. Plus, it’s protein-packed and hearty enough for a main meal. If you’re grilling chicken breasts for dinner, make extra and try this salad the next night. Or, if you’re short on time, pick up a pre-grilled chicken breast from your favorite grocer.
To make, add a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves to your salad bowl. Add juicy red grapes (sliced in half), Cinnamon Sugar Pecans (follow the link for a recipe to make your own), and sliced grilled chicken. Top with crumbled goat cheese and toss everything in your favorite vinaigrette (this Raspberry Vinaigrette is an ideal match).
Kale and Brussels Slaw Salad
Kale is all the rage, and for good reason—it’s high in fiber and antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Likewise, Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamins and nutrients. The two together form a nutritional powerhouse. They’re often cooked before serving, but they also work well raw when sliced into thin strips.
To make this slaw, slice kale and Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible (you can even push each through a food processor to make quick work of the slicing). Add sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and shaved Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler to make perfect Parmesan shavings from a block of cheese). Toss with our Parmesan Pepper Vinaigrette and enjoy!
Peppery Summer Salad
Fresh corn on the cob is one of our favorite summer foods. Next time you cook some, reserve an ear or two for corn off the cob to add to this delicious salad, which also features the peppery flavor of fresh arugula.
To prepare the salad, start with a bowlful of fresh arugula. Add corn kernels (you can easily cut the corn off the cob, straight into the salad bowl, with a small paring knife), diced avocado, sliced radish, sliced tomato, and chopped green onion (both the white bulb and the green stalk). Dress with our Poppy Seed Dressing—the tangy sweetness of the dressing will balance the bitterness of the radish and onion, and the peppery bite of the arugula.
Colorful Field Greens Salad
Sometimes, you do want a more traditional green salad—but with a twist. This one includes all your favorite veggies for a mix of color, plus the tart taste of Granny Smith apples. Give it a try, and don’t be shy about adding or subtracting the ingredients you love best.
Begin with a base of fresh field greens. If you’re a spinach salad lover, feel free to mix some in with the rest of the greens. Next, shred carrots with a cheese grater to add a splattering of healthy orange color. Add thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, plum tomatoes (cut in half), thinly sliced cucumber, yellow bell pepper (sliced into thin rings), and any other veggies you desire. Top with toasted sunflower seeds and dried cherries and toss in a simple vinaigrette (this Citrus Vinaigrette or Fresh Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette are both excellent options).
There you have it—five new recipes to add flavor and flair to your salad repertoire. Give them a try and let us know what you think. And remember: it’s easy to make tasty, tantalizing salad dressings from scratch with the Whiskware™ Dressing Shaker.