Now that we have launched the ‘detox’ operation after the excesses of Christmas, healthy recipes and salads are our main allies in the kitchen. Looking for a different step by step, we trust our ambassadors: Paola Freire from Foodtropia and Laura Ponts. When looking to create our own tasty, healthy and characterful salad, we always follow our instincts and three surefire tips for turning lettuce into a joy on the weekly menu.
No, the key is not to add bacon or any other meat product that disguises the flavor and adds too much fat to the vegetables. Nor in the creamy sauces that smear and mask everything. It’s not the United States. Our three tips for improving a salad come down to a play on textures and aromas. Moreover, they will also help you give it a more colorful and appetizing touch. You’ll go from preparing the typical mixed salad to a true Instagram-worthy wonder.
The 3 tips that will change your salads
Bet on the crisp
The first tip from our guide to prepare the perfect salad is encouraged to add crunchy and crunchy textures. Playing with this allows us to give it extra consistency and lots of flavor. In the “crispy” universe, there is a wide variety of ingredients that work perfectly in a salad. The simplest option is found in nuts: from walnuts to cashews, to sliced almonds or pistachios. If you want to go further or are allergic, you can find this crunchy note in the world of seeds. A few toasted pumpkin or sesame seeds are great for any salad. And if you really feel inspired, don’t hesitate any longer and prepare a “dukkah” that will transport you to the Middle East.
Aside from nuts and seeds, the crunchy universe also has a handful of more ideal ingredients to add to salads. A classic are the croutons, very good choice of flavor, but a little greasy more because they are usually fried in oil. Why not try a grilled version? You can also try toasting corn tortillas or pita bread, they go great with salads and usually don’t fall apart.
In the plant kingdom, we can also sink our teeth into many crunchy ingredients. The onion is always a good ally for salads, but not everyone likes it raw. Other very healthy and crunchy options to add to a salad are apple, peach, sautéed snow peas, pomegranate seeds, a few slices of coconut…
In addition to giving a crunchy touch to the “garnishes” of our salad, we can make the base ingredient provide the “crispy” touch. Have you tried fried quinoa or fried rice? And cauliflower or broccoli as the star products of your salad?
Give it a creamy touch
Once we have understood the importance of the crispy touch, We go to the other extreme: creamy notes. This trick lifts any salad. Even the simplest and most boring ones. Who doesn’t love a deliciously creamy texture? Beyond giving silkiness to every bite, we can also achieve surprising flavors by adding creamy ingredients. Many times they even help us to play with soft notes. The most used of all is the avocado, the favorite product of ‘millennials’. In recent years, figs and mangoes have also gained weight. But there is life beyond the trendy fruits.
The best way to play with creamy textures is in soft cheeses. Until recently we couldn’t get out of the world of goat curling, but for a few years burrata, fresh mozzarella or feta have gained prominence in our salad cookbook. Those looking for an extra flavor will find in blue cheeses -gorgonzolla, picón, roquefort, stilton- the perfect ally.
Another great idea for adding creaminess to a salad comes from transforming a classic. Replace the typical boiled egg which is usually dry with a poached egg. Few ingredients have the power of a good egg yolk. An advice? Bet on eggs from free-range hens because they tend to concentrate more flavor.
The creaminess of a salad can also be achieved through dressings. What if you swapped the traditional vinaigrette for more playful vinaigrettes? It’s incredible the game that can give Greek yogurt, mustard, honey… With good olive oil, spices and salt, you can create explosive combinations that have nothing to envy to Caesar and all that collection of pre-made sauces you find on the supermarket shelves.
Don’t Underestimate Herbs
If we learned anything from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking is that aromatic herbs cannot be missing in a kitchen. Although they have already been in several of our recipes, after his book ‘Simple’ we discovered how much they should be added to a salad. Although they are normally already fresh on their own, with the aromatic herbs and the correct use of spices we can turn a salad into our star dish.
Play with basil beyond caprese or a pasta dish. Give in to the mint like there’s no tomorrow. Breathe new life into parsley in your cookbook. Enjoy the mint beyond the mojito. Rediscover the possibilities of tarragon… The possibilities are endless and it goes just as well in a cold salad as in a warm or spicy version. An idea? Give a very fresh touch to legume salads with aromatic herbs and you will see life in another color.