8Great: Ways to Pimp Your Salad

8Great: Ways to Pimp Your Salad

by Ellen Kanner

No more bottled dressing and limp leaves. We’re here to rock your salad world. These 8 easy changeups add oomph, texture, flavor and buckets of eye candy and mouth appeal.

  1. Season to taste — Seasonal produce delivers new big, bright flavors and mouthfeel for a year’s worth of salad splendor. Sweet peas and tender asparagus herald spring, sweet corn, sassy arugula and a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes spell summer, roasted beets or pumpkin mean the fall, and bold Brussels sprouts roasted and warm or shredded and raw offer green goodness in winter.
  1. Crunch — Ramp up the fun and flavor with roasted chickpeas, nuts and seeds, panfried cubed tofu, skinny crostini, crumbled tortillas and — strange but wonderful —salted Rice Krispies. Croutons? Ancient history.
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Ellen Kanner Salad for Adventuregirl.com
  1. Temperature — salad doesn’t need to be ice-box cold. Discover what they’ve known for generations in the Mediterranean — salad textures and flavors bloom at room temperature.
  1. Leftovers — Think beyond raw. Last night’s leftover veggies, be they steamed, fried, sautéed or roasted, belong in tonight’s salad. So do cooked whole grains like barley and farro, even short pasta like penne or fusilli (whole grain for extra nourishing credit).
  1. Protein — Sure there’s grilled chicken and salmon but play with plant-based protein like creamy white beans, toasted nuts and seeds and grilled tofu and tempeh. They take salad from slight to significant.
  1. Shape — Different shapes add texture and dimension. Shred carrots, shave fennel, dice celery, don’t toss woody broccoli stems, slice them thin. Spiralize it, baby — make ribbons of zucchini and beets.
Ellen Kanner Salad for Adventuregirl.com
  1. Fun fat —There’s life beyond extra virgin olive oil. Explore bronze, buttery pumpkin seed oil, green, nutty green hemp seed oil or tahini (sesame seed paste), so luscious it belongs in more than hummus. Add chopped or sliced avocado — or mush it and toss right into your salad. With a squeeze of lemon, you’ve got instant dressing.
  1. Fab flavor — Swap basic balsamic for mild cider vinegar, sweet Asian mirin, fragrant sherry vinegar or bright fresh citrus. Ramp it up with a spoonful of miso or mustard, a squirt of sriracha, a blizzard of your favorite fresh chopped herbs or a shake of spice.

Today’s factoid: Salad comes from the Latin word meaning salted. That means olives, capers, chopped pickles, toasted nuts or just a light sprinkling of sea salt to finish your salad with a flavor pop.

Follow Ellen on Twitter @soulfulvegan 

Photo credit: Ellen Kanner

Ellen Kanner is the award-winning author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner, Huffington Post’s Meatless Monday blogger, Miami Herald syndicated columnist the Edgy Veggie and soulful vegan writer and recipe developer for numerous publications. A sought-after speaker, award-winning author and influencer on issues related to veganism, kitchen literacy, conscious eating, sustainability and farm to table, Ellen is Gourmet Guru for the Global Pulse Confederation and ambassador forAmerican Pulse Association. 

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