Salad Stars

Today at lunch I had an amazing salad. And, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing quite as tasty. I adore a salad loaded with “stuff” so that every bite is a fabulous mixture of colors, textures and flavors. Yet, salads like this are illusive and rare and I think they shouldn’t be. After all, there is no real secret to lettuce and veggies, is there? Ahhh, maybe that’s the problem right there? The salad, we underestimate it; that is, if we even think of it at all.

I don’t know about you, but I am a creature of habit. Without meaning to, I get caught up in my routine. I am moving through my day so quickly, with so many balls in the air that the last thing I am thinking about is the creation of my nightly salad. So, I usually just do what I always do: lettuce, a few veggies, some Parmesan because I’m on autopilot. But the interesting thing is that I do not treat any other dish this way; so why do I do it with one of my favorites? Because it’s easy.

But then, along came today’s salad at lunch. It was so tasty and it was clearly not hard to create. It was just different from what I usually do. So, it got me thinking… I have decided that the secret to a fabulous salad is simply variety. Sure, a good dressing helps, but the real secret is just mixing it up a bit.

So I’ve created a list- by no means complete- of great things to add to your salad to make it a star. Read below, mix and match, pick and choose and have some fun. I love to have some from each category- but that’s just me. And remember, this is by no means a complete list- but it’s a beginning. And, if there is something I missed that you love, comment and let me know. We’ll keep growing the list for us all!

Lettuce -combine as many as you like for interesting flavor and texture
Baby Romaine
Romaine
Arugula
Baby Arugula
Mixed baby greens
Iceberg
Red leaf
Boston/Bibb

Veggies -put in as many as you want!
Asparagus- grilled, roasted or par boiled
Avocado
Beans- green, black, white- you name it!
Beets- roasted or boiled
Carrots -shredded or small chop
Celery-small chop
Corn- cooked or raw
Cucumbers
Fennel- sliced thin on a mandolin
Leeks- fried
Mushrooms- wild or conventional, cooked or raw
Olives
Radishes
Red onion
Yellow/red/orange pepper
Scallions
Tomatoes
Potatoes- cooked
Zucchini- grilled, or shredded and raw

Fruit -I usually only use one
Craisins
Apples
Blueberries-dried or fresh
Cherries- dried or fresh
Grapefruit
Orange
Peaches
Raisins
Raspberries
Strawberries

Cheese
Parmesan
A good blue like St. Agur
Goat
Cheddar
Greyere
Brie

Nuts– roasted, salted, candied, plain
Pine Nuts
Almonds
Walnuts
Pecans
Peanuts

Herbs
Basil- shredded
Chives
Dill
Mint

Protein (for main course salads)
Bacon
Eggs
Ham
Lamb
Steak
Turkey
Chicken
Shrimp
Fish

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2 Comments

  1. Joanne Brian
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great list of ingredients! My favorite salad is made with Mache lettuce, goat cheese crumbles, craisins, tomato and sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds). Garlic Expressions marinade salad dressing is a perfect compliment. Cottage cheese also works well for a low cal cheese option. Sounds weird but its really good.

    • Posted November 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Ooh! Good point! I forgot seeds! Thanks Joanne!

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