There is nothing sexy about soggy lettuce (unless you have a niche fetish for damp foliage, in which case, best of luck to you!). We’ve all had those superb salads that make us revalidate healthy eating as a delicious life decision, as well as those other inferior salads that leave our souls and stomachs empty inside.
So what is the secret to constructing a truly sexy salad? It’s all to do with balance. Balance the textures, balance the flavours, and rejoice in the tasty nutritious harmony that results! For the novice home cooks, this may sound easier said than done, but fear not – follow this simply guide and you’ll be well on your way to salad stardom.
Balance the macros
First of all, make sure to include a mixture of carbs, protein and fats; this will ensure your salad will actually keep you full. Some suggestions include;
- – carbs: quinoa, rice, buckwheat, pasta, freekah, potato, pumpkin
- – protein: beans, lentils, chicken, salmon, tuna, lean cuts of red meat, haloumi, tofu
- – fats: avocado, olive oil, nuts
Add the foliage
There’s no rule saying you must use lettuce! Try different varieties of fancy lettuce, beetroot leaves, spinach or kale for something mild, rocket for something spicy, or celery leaves for a more aniseed flavour.
Balance the flavours
This is the slightly tricky part but it gets easier with practice! Aim for three of the five tastes of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savoury. Some suggestions include;
- – sweet: mango, orange, peaches, tomatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin, a drizzle of honey
- – sour: apple cider or white wine vinegar
- – bitter: lemon, lime, grapefruit
- – salty: salt obviously, seafood
- – savoury: miso, grains
Balance the textures
Now this is how you boredom bust your salads! Think about what you’ve already got and go through a little mental checklist. Have I got something crunchy? If not, add nuts or seeds. Have I got something soft / squishy? If not, add soft cheese, tofu, avocado, pumpkin etc. Have I got something in between? If not, think about your vegetables like capsicum, corn, beans etc.
Dress your salad
Always leave the dressing until you’re just about to serve to prevent your bottom from going soggy (the salad I mean). Rather than the calorie laden high sugar dressings from the supermarket, I often choose for a small sprinkle of oil (try macadamia, avocado, olive or rapeseed) and a spritz of vinegar (like balsamic, apple cider or white / red wine vinegar).
Ta-dah! You are now well on your way to slaying at salads. See, you can make friends with salad after all!