How To Make A Salad New and Exciting

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I love my greens, and I know you do too. Salads are the typical go-to meal when we're focused on healthy eating. But, it's fun to switch things up from your typical Kale Ceasar or Chopped Cobb. Trying different flavors, colors and textures is key to avoiding boredom. Salads are a great type of meal to experiment. Throw things in your salad to make it new and exciting.

Deconstruct your favorite dish can help with getting creative. By turning something else into a salad you can make dish a fun way to enjoy a favorite meal. It’s especially good for sandwich combinations or other recipes where the elements of your dish are really just fillers. Here's how to perk up your salads with some different flavors and textures, without a lot of extra time in the kitchen.

How To Make A Salad New and Exciting

Get Creative With Ingredients

Think every bowl has to start with a bunch of greens? Think again. By changing the ratio of leaves to other ingredients, can make a salad bold and interesting. Try chickpeas, roasted mushrooms, jicama, quinoa, spiralized zucchini. This creates a bold color-filled bowl, heartier texture and can act as a good base.

Try this... Garbanzo Bean & Kale Salad

Rethink Your Veggie Prep

Chopping up your produce saves time when you're making your salad for later. Instead of doing standard dice, reach for a peeler or spiralize to create thin wide strips of carrots or zucchini.

Add Some Crunch

One of the fun parts about eating salad is enjoying all the different textures. It's fun to experiment with toppings like roasted nuts (almond slivers, walnuts, or anything else you like), crispy pork rinds, or even just raw jicama.

Heat it Up

By adding one or two warm elements onto a salad, this can switch up the whole salad game in interesting ways. The classic is to make the protein warm: a chicken breast hot off the grill, tossed with lettuce, onions, and toppings--Like this grilled chili lime chicken fajita salad. But you could also add all kinds of warmer mix-ins like roasted mushrooms or sweet potato.

You Might Also Like... What's In Your Salad? 7 Ways You're Ruining Your Salad

Pack In More Flavor

A couple of the ways they do this is by mixing fresh herbs into the lettuce base for the salad or drizzling a squeeze of lemon or lime on top. It's also nice to add a little bit of spice--depending on how much heat you can take. It could be as tame as fresh cracked pepper—or something with a little more of a kick, like Sriracha.

DYI your dressing

Surprisingly, this makes a huge difference. By making your own salad dressing, you can add different flavors and herbs to your dressing like this avocado cilantro dressing or >raspberry poppy seed dressing.

<centerWhat’s your favorite go-to salad? Let us know by tagging your photos on Instagram with @valeriefidan

Cucumber Pico De Gallo

pico de gallo It's been a while since I last wrote and I have to say I feel a little weird, kind of like when you haven't seen a friend for a while and you have so many things to talk about that you don't even know where to begin.

Since the last time I blogged, a lot has changed. For starters, I'm writing to you from Tamarindo, Costa Rica where I'll be living for the next three months. Last October, my husband Gregg and I decided to skip renewing our outrageously high lease in San Francisco, we sold most of our stuff, and stored the remaining few items we own to live a digital nomad lifestyle, along with our two dogs, Teddy and Zoe. Since then, I've been getting a lot of questions from readers, family and friends on the topic of being a digital nomad. (You can follow along on my travel blog, Ramblist.com). In between this time, I've also started the year by taking part in a 12-Week Fit Challenge. So, you can probably guess the sorts of recipes that will follow in the coming days--super healthy, and nutritious. It's been great living in Tamarindo thus far. There is no shortage of fresh, local fair here. Each day is a fun adventure, discovering different places, and getting inspired to make meals at home.

I leave you today with a recent recipe I made, Cucumber Pico De Gallo! This is a perfect salsa to add over a bed of fresh lettuce or even nosh on as its own dish by itself or with plantain chips. It's very low in calories but extremely high in vitamins, minerals and very delicious.

Cucumber Pico De Gallo 2

What You'll Need

1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped 5 Small roma tomatoes, chopped 1/2 Medium onion, chopped 1 bunch cilantro, chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt Juice from 1 lime (or 2 tablespoons) Freshly ground pepper, to taste

pico de gallo ingredients

What You'll Need To Know

Toss together all ingredients except in a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. Taste for seasoning and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Service with a side of plantain chips or add over a bed of fresh lettuce.

Cucumber Pico De Gallo

Cucumber Pico De Gallo
Prep time:
Cook time:
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 5 Small roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 1 lime (or 2 tablespoons)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Toss together all ingredients except in a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. Taste for seasoning and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Service with a side of plantain chips or add over a bed of fresh lettuce.

Caprese Salad

Caprese saladAs Summer is coming to an end, there is a certain something that I love about welcoming in the Fall.

If there is one fruit that I love in the Summer, it's tomatoes. Although, people normally gravitate toward heirloom tomatoes, viewing these open-pollinated varieties as traditional and authentic. But there simply isn’t a “best-tasting” tomato. The tomatoes are all good in their own way. But, come mid-September, the tomato plants are no longer the stars of the garden. The vines are starting to look like exhausted from their summer of bounty. Although, this week tomatoes have been exceptionally tasty. With the copious amount of tomatoes that are currently available, I decided to make a Caprese salad.

This timeless light, fresh salad combination is made with fresh mozzarella, delicious red tomatoes, and fresh basil. That’s why every component counts: You must seek out the best ingredients, use your fanciest olive oil, and sprinkle on the Maldon salt and coarsely ground pepper. This recipe is the perfect quick and easy accompaniment to any late summer meal.

Caprese salad

What You'll Need

8 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp. salt, preferably sea salt 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Caprese salad

What You'll Need To Know

On a platter, alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella. Garnish generously with basil leaves, tucking some underneath the tomatoes. Drizzle the olive oil over all, and then sprinkle with the salt and pepper. You'll want to serve immediately.

 

Insalata Caprese
Recipe Type: Salad, Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
One of Italy's best-known cheeses, fresh mozzarella is soft and spongy textured. It is sold packed in liquid at well-stocked supermarkets, cheese stores and Italian groceries. Fresh mozzarella was traditionally made from the milk of the water buffalo, but cow's milk is used elsewhere and increasingly in Italy, as well.
Ingredients
  • 8 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, preferably sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. On a platter, alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella. Garnish generously with basil leaves, tucking some underneath the tomatoes. Drizzle the olive oil over all, and then sprinkle with the salt and pepper. You'll want to serve immediately.