Dress up your salads with these ten ingredients.
Getting bored with iceberg lettuce? Try experimenting with these top ten veggies for a salad that is both highly nutritious and full of flavor.
Salad might seem hard to get excited about. If you are anything like me, you’re far more likely to swoon over a chocolate cake recipe than one for a salad. So how do you give your salads more bowl appeal? Experimenting with different flavors and textures is the key to preventing salad bar boredom.
The best salads should start with some of the leafy green stuff:
(sometimes called rocket
- A large handful is all you need to line your bowl when making a salad for two. Arugula is peppery but not too overpowering. Pairing it with beets makes an awesome combination.
2.) Oak Leaf Lettuce -
A lettuce is a staple of any salad, so you might as well make it a good one. Oak leaf lettuce adds a bit of red color to your salad bowl too, and comes to life when paired with some red grapes (yes I know that's a fruit!).
3.) Chicory Greens
- Use this bitter green in small amounts to add texture and a slightly bitter taste to salads. If you can't get chicory greens, then try endive, or escarole.
Then add some color – and crunch:
4.) Beets --
Roasted beets work well in winter salads, or you can try them raw when cut up into little matchsticks, which adds color, flavor and some crunch too.
5.) Radicchio –
This powerful vegetable provides a superb red and white marbled color to any salad, but use it in moderation. It has bitter taste much like chicory so don't use the two together–unless that's the way you like it.
6.) Red & Green Bell Peppers --
If you're using raw peppers, they work best when sliced thinly. For a warming winter salad, try throwing sliced peppers in a pan with a few chopped garlic cloves, a teaspoon of thyme and a splash of red wine vinegar, for 10 minutes. Add the sautéed peppers to a bed of leafy greens and add a crumble of cheese over the top.
7.) Carrots --
Even kids will be tempted by grated carrot in a salad. Or, if you like it hot (some do), try it shredded and mixed with cilantro, scallions, Tabasco sauce, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Add a bit of extra flavor to your salad bowl by adding:
8.) Red Onion
-- Sliced thinly and added to any salad, red onion looks good and adds extra oomph. For a version that won't have you reaching for breath mints afterward, try broiling 3/4 inch thick slices of red onion, brushed with oil, for 8 minutes. Add it to arugula and you have one primo salad.
9.) Radish --
Try it sliced or coarsely grated, in small quantities. If you find that radish is a little too strong for your tastes, then use it with the green tops to take the power down a notch or two.
And to make your salad really stand out from the crowd:
10.) Garden Peas --
Not just for roast dinners, peas can be used raw or cooked as a slightly sweet and tasty addition to a salad.
Using all of these top ten veggies in a salad will give you taste-bud overload, so choose a few and mix and match. Sometimes a mix of three ingredients is all you need to make a salad with crunch stand out from the bunch.
Salads are super easy to mix together in any combination that you like. But for some inspiration, check out a few of these tried-and-true salad recipes:
Quick Dish food blogger Sarah (a.k.a. Scaron) came up with this incredible salad with garlic bread and crunchy, fresh salad ingredients. How amazing does this salad look?
What's your secret ingredient to make your salads stand out?