Written by: JoAnn Rash
The guy that said salad dressing did not make you fat is brilliant. Seriously brilliant. And, if you know who that guy is, please let me know. I read this brilliance online and don’t remember where. This guy deserves so much credit for that statement and if you find him, I would like to give it to him.
Salad dressing did not make me fat. But I used it as an excuse not to eat salad because, quite frankly, most salads suck. Not all salads. I have had some good salads at restaurants. But it’s rare.
My salads at home, they sucked. Which brings me to this other guy. Or, the same guy. I’m not sure. He showed the world how to make a great salad and, my friends, I am here to share it with you.
First, throw out all your old ideas about what salad is supposed to look like.
Salads that look like this suck.
See that little dish of ranch. That was me. I dipped my fork in it. Pulled up big chunks of romaine, maybe a cucumber. Maybe a tomato. This salad was eaten out of an eat-your-veggies obligation with a fear that it would make me fat on the side.
Now, because of that guy, the one who showed the world how to make a salad, my salads look like this.
Which, friends, is what a great salad should look like.
Second, start with a great base. This is my favorite.
I am no longer a romaine girl. It only ranks a little higher on the flavor scale above iceberg. And, with all the romaine recalls that happen, there are just so many healthier, tastier, and safer options out there.
In fact, I like this base because it doesn’t include the traditional lettuces. It has escarole, endive, broccoli, cucumber, flatbread strips, feta, radicchio, carrots, red cabbage and balsamic vinaigrette.
I like the ease of buying my base in a bag. You can make your own if you like.
Third, make your salad an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad. Use your imagination. Use whatever you have in your fridge and pantry. The rule that certain veggies and salad fixings don’t go together is a false one. It all works. It all tastes delicious.
To my base I often add more of the above, along with peppers, onions, radishes, seeds (think pumpkin, sunflower), chicken, dried fruit. Throw it all in.
Fourth, every salad must have cheese. This is non-negotiable. Mozzarella. Cheddar. Feta. All three. It doesn’t matter what kind. Just include a little bit of whatever you have on hand. Trust me. Again, it will all go together and taste great.
Fourth, think small. Your salad fixings should be so small that, with every bite, you get a little bit of everything on your fork.
Seriously, for the love of salad, do not include any big, chunky pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, chicken or any other salad fixing you can think of (Likewise, do not include anything that you don’t like, simply because you think you should.)
Chop everything into little pieces. It is worth the time it takes to do this.
Fifth, and most important, use only about a third of the salad dressing that you normally would use. This packet of salad dressing, most of it gets thrown away.
After you put all your salad fixings in a big bowl (don’t skimp on the size of the bowl here) drizzle about a third of the salad dressing into the salad and start tossing with a fork.
Keep tossing. The toss some more. Toss it a lot. Toss your salad about 50 times and then stop. Take a good look at it. Every bit of your salad should have just the right amount of dressing on it.
There should be no big puddle of dressing at the bottom of your bowl. Ever.
Take a bite. Can you taste the dressing? You should be able to taste how the dressing enhances your salad. It’s not there to cover up what you are eating. Your salad dressing should not steal the show.
In fact, now that your salad is done, you will note that your fixings, including the dressing, are all working together. There is harmony in your salad bowl.
And, not only will you want to eat it all, it won’t make you fat.