OK, we are way beyond Iceberg (although the classic wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon has made a comeback in the last few years). Think spring greens, spinach, kale, bok choy, arugula, endive, romaine and don’t forget to explore the wide variety of Market District microgreens like watercress medley and dillicious. The possibilities are endless and none are bad.
Looking for a heartier base? What about snap peas, green beans, broccoli, edamame, etc. You are still getting your vegetables, but in the end they are dressed to impress, so pretty.
Season your greens. Don’t just add salt and pepper to the dressing. Mix lightly with greens—or any base vegetable—to bring out the best!
If you’re starting with leafy greens, add your crunchy carrots and cucumber, red bell peppers, corn and celery. Then, add big flavor. Try roasting vegetables. Roasting brings out the very best in broccoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms and more. You can even roast some lettuces like Romaine on the grill.
If you are starting with cabbage or kale, try roasted red peppers, grapes or tomato, egg or avocado. You get it. Definitely mix up the textures so every bite is a delight.
Either bases make a good bed for grains. Nothing like a little quinoa or couscous to add depth (and nutrition) to a salad.
Start with fresh herbs. Fresh parsley is always a winner. But try fresh basil, cilantro, oregano, mint, chives or rosemary. Rosemary is strong, so keep it light. If you are lacking, you can add dried herbs to the dressing.
In terms of actual toppings, we love croutons but have moved on. Try something a little racier like pepitas or roasted pine nuts, almonds or crackers. What about popcorn and sesame sticks or seeds?
Fat adds a lot of flavor and isn’t necessarily bad. A little blue cheese goes a long way. As do bacon bits, capicola or any meat, really. And, don’t be afraid of a little fat in the dressing. Homemade dressing is the real difference between your average salad and the lovely dish that you remember from the fancy French restaurant. It’s everything.
Start with your oil (grapeseed, avocado, olive, sesame) and add your flavor. We are especially fond of lemon, but lime, vinegar, wine, even juice adds something special. Depending on your combination (say avocado oil and lime), add crushed garlic; you can almost never go wrong. Then season. Always salt and pepper, but then there is a world of spices to explore. Love Greek seasoning, sage, thyme and dill.
Excited? Start by trying these salad recipes brought to you by our chefs!