Salad is supposed to be good for you (that’s why we eat it), but what is meant to be a healthy meal often gets overwhelmed by too many extras. Those in favor of lettuce confess that the boring green stuff is really just a vehicle for everything else: globby dressing, shredded cheese, candied nuts or anything that has what we all really want–flavor! It’s time for a salad spring-cleaning, and we’ll start by tossing out the lettuce.
Variety Is the Spice
When jump-starting your salad, variety is key. Mixing up greens is an easy way to make your salad more delicious and nutritious. Mustard greens, arugula, watercress and dandelion greens add a spicy kick; chard and kale have a deep, iron rich palate and add body; soft herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint and basil can be more than just a garnish––they’re delicious additions to any bowl of greens. Not only do you get more vitamins and minerals by diversifying your green leaves, every bite is an adventure you just can’t get from a bowl of romaine.
Textures and Colors
Flavor diversity is critical, but don’t forget about textures and colors. Color is a great way to get excited even before you pick up your fork! Start by playing with a rainbow palate from vibrant green celery leaves to garnet dandelion greens, purple mustards, blue-green Russian kale and nasturtium flowers. For a texture adventure pair more delicate greens like pea shoots with a heartier leaf like lacinato kale.
Dress It Up
For a quick and simple dressing whisk a squeeze of lemon with a splash of olive oil, add a crack of pepper and a pinch of salt, (you can even throw in some zest from that lemon for an extra pop because why not?) and voila! Packing flavor into the foundation means that a simple dressing is all you’ll need.