How to Make a Salad You’re Actually Excited to Eat – Lose Weight in Your Hips


If you don’t have any fresh stuff, you can go the dried route. The sweetness of dates, apricots, and figs “harmonizes with the tangy sharpness of crumbled goat cheese,” Ahu Hettema, co-executive chef at Istanbul Hawai’i, tells SELF.

7. Seasoning your salad is a must.

Everything needs to be seasoned to reach its full flavor potential—including salads. At a minimum, this means an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper, besides what’s in your dressing, says Shariat. If you want to go beyond your shaker, you can get the same salty goodness with food sources instead. Think: olives, capers, tinned fish, Parmesan cheese, and pickles, she says.

From there, try adding a little spice. “Favorites that I rotate through are sumac for citrusy brightness, zaatar for depth, mint for freshness, nutritional yeast for umami, and sometimes hot sauce to kick up a bland salad,” Shariat says.

8. Aromatics add a whole lot, too.

And not just to cooked food, either: Casey Thompson, executive chef at three-time Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, Folktable in Sonoma, loves to lightly saute (or completely fry) onion and garlic before tossing them in. This makes them even more flavorful and adds depth to the normally raw goodness of a salad.

9. Pair your dressings with your mix-ins.

What goes with one salad might completely take over another, Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, of Street Smart Nutrition, tells SELF. For example, a rich, thick Caesar dressing might overpower delicate spinach or butter lettuce, but taste great drizzled over sturdy kale or grilled romaine. On the flipside, hardier veggies can handle almost anything, from a light citrus-y vinaigrette to a rich mayo or dairy-based sauce.

10. Dress it wisely.

The makeup you choose will also help you determine when exactly to dress your salad. If you’ve got a base filled with tender greens like spinach, you’ll want to wait until just before you’re eating it to mix in the good stuff—if not, it’ll wilt fast. But if you’re working with tough greens like kale and collards, go ahead and add the dressing right when you’re prepping it. That actually helps tenderize them, so they’re the perfect texture by the time you’re ready to dig in.

11. Sweeten your vinaigrette.

Basic vinaigrette recipes will tell you that vinegar, oil, and an emulsifier are mandatory, but there’s another element that shouldn’t be overlooked: sweetness, says Shariat. A little bit of a sugary ingredient like pomegranate molasses, honey, agave, or maple syrup will make your dressing perfectly balanced rather than overly acidic. “I’ve even used jam and fruit syrup in my dressings,” she adds.

12. Layer instead of tossing.

The tossing technique isn’t best for every version. Heavy veggies like cherry tomatoes and avocado tend to sink to the bottom when you start mixing everything up—which means it’s going to take a whole lot of boring forkfuls before you get to the good stuff. This can be avoided by layering the ingredients instead, says Dahl. Make sure each layer contains some of everything, then season it with salt and pepper, dress it with your vinaigrette, and dig in. That way, you get goodies in every bite, she says.

13. Cast a wide net for protein.

Folks might confuse a “boring” salad for one that’s simply less fulfilling—which can often be the case if you skimp on protein, says Harbstreet. Sure, you can go ahead and use classics like grilled chicken or steak, but you don’t need to rely on meat. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options that do the job just as well, like hard-boiled eggs, cheeses like grilled halloumi, tofu, tempeh, and edamame. And omnivores can opt for ready-made ingredients like tinned fish and sliced ham to beef up what they eat with no active cooking.

14. Or elevate your egg while you’re at it.

You can make your eggs way more interesting simply by cooking them for less time, Casey Thompson, executive chef at three-time Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, Folktable in Sonoma, tells SELF. She loves a soft-boiled egg with a mustardy green like tatsoi and a soy sauce vinaigrette.


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