I asked my husband the other night what he wanted for dinner. The only thing that sounded good to him was a salad. He didn’t want a salad so he could watch his waistline. He wanted a manly salad that filled his belly. It had to be chock full of meats, veggies and cheeses. The description he gave me was a classic chef salad (hard boiled egg, turkey, ham, cheese, tomatoes, and greens).
Once I served him (Okay, I really don’t serve him but I thought it made me sound more domestic), he wanted additional items like black and green olives and salami. At first I got all bent out of shape. Who makes a chef salad with those ingredients? Not me. After I belittled him (I was a bit snitty, sorry Honey) about his lack of classic salad knowledge, I thought why couldn’t we just make a salad any way we want. Let’s just get rid of the salad shackles the world has put on us and just eat what we like.
So I came up with some Salad 101 thoughts to help us get started on our salad revolution.
GREENS (1 of each)
Crunchy: ice berg, romaine, endive, escarole
Tender: Bibb, spinach, red leaf
Bold: Arugula, watercress, radicchio
FILLERS (select 2 or 3)
Carrots, cucumbers, peppers, onion, fennel, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, sprouts
MEATS AND CHEESES (1 of each)
Turkey, ham, salami, bacon, anchovies, shrimp, pancetta, grilled chicken, steak
Cheddar, Swiss, Gorgonzola, blue cheese crumbles, feta, mozzarella, goat cheese, Gouda
CRUNCH (Add 1)
Pecans, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds.
SWEET (For those nights you just want a little more, add 1)
Strawberries, craisins, apples, pears, mandarin oranges, grapes
My basic vinaigrette is 1 part vinegar to 2 parts olive oil. Depending on my taste buds I’ll add mustard, lemon, garlic or a variety of herbs. Play around with it until you find one you like.
The above formula is what I like to use as a basis to make a hearty, main dish salad. By no means am I suggesting this is the lowest calorie formula for salads. In this case, it tastes good and sometimes that is the most important factor. Just remember you don’t need to overload your salad to make it a success. Some of the best salads I’ve ever had only y had a few ingredients.
I really like a mix of greens in my salad but have learned it can be kind of expensive especially when I’m only making it for the two of us. If you want to eliminate lettuce leftovers, the grocery store mixes are a nice alternative. (Unless you want leftovers for a hungry turtle).
Have fun experimenting and let me know some other creative ingredients you like in your summer salads. Lettuce make this the best salad summer ever!! (You knew I had to get one last pun in, didn’t you?)