Salad making tips you don’t want to miss!
Would you like to make restaurant style salads that you cannot wait to dig your fork into Follow these salad making tips and you can never have a bad salad day!
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It is the start of a new year and new year means new resolutions. Eating better and getting healthier are a part of most people’s new year resolutions.
Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet, closest to their natural form is one of the best ways to healthy eating. Salads are the perfect vehicle to get your 5+ servings a day of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Chock a block with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre, eating one salad a day can go a long way to a healthier you in 2019!
Here are my 11 salad making tips for restaurant quality salads
- Start with fresh ingredients. While a vegetable not at its peak freshness can be somewhat salvaged in a curry, it will drastically bring down the quality of a salad. Ingredients in a salad have nowhere to hide, so use the best you have.
- Cleaning and prepping salad leaves – Use the sink or buy one of those large sized plastic tubs to wash lettuce. Fill it with tap water, swish the lettuce and other salad greens in the water and all the sand / soil will get collected at the bottom. Discard this water and repeat the process 2 more times or until the water runs clean. You can use a salad spinner to dry the leaves. No salad spinner? Then use the totally fun pillow-case trick! In a large cotton pillow case, place the washed leaves, twist the end closed and spin/swing it around for a bit. The cotton case will absorb all the water, giving you nice and dry leaves. Water on the salad leaves dilutes the dressing and the flavour. Wet ingredients do not allow the dressing to stick. So this is one of the most important salad making tips.
- Deseed watery vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber before using them in a salad. These are notorious for taking your salad to soggy-ville! To deseed, use a paring knife, quarter the vegetable and scoop out the seeds.
- Dressings are all about the perfect balance. Ensure you have the something sour, spicy, sweet (optional) and salty, all in the right quantities to make that perfect tasting dressing. Taste as you go and adjust the various components. To ‘taste’ a dressing, use a salad leaf dipped in the dressing instead of dipping your finger or using a spoon as it will not give you the best idea of the taste.
- Leftover jam – To add a sweet, fruity tinge to dressings, use any leftover jam or marmalade. Place the jam jar (assuming its glass) with leftover jam, without the lid in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until the marmalade / jam is runny. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and any other ingredients you’ve lined up for your dressing into this jam jar and whisk / shake it all together. Voila, ready to dress up your salad!
- Magic gadget for dressings – The mini battery operated coffee frother is the best little gadget you can buy to whisk up smooth and luscious dressings in small jars. However, don’t use the same piece to whisk dressings and froth your coffee, the vinegar from dressing has quite a strong taste!
- Tossing salads is not a show of strength or to show off the fancy salad tossers you’ve bought! Toss your salad very gently using your finger tips so as not to bruise the leaves. Use the biggest size bowl you can find to avoid over crowding and messing up your salad.
- Last minute additions – Any crunchy ingredients like toasted nuts, seeds or croutons should be served over individual bowls, so they retain their crunch. This also means they do not get designated to the bottom of the bowl, floating in a small pool of dressing. The same applies to cheese, which is best crumbled over individual bowls. [Recipe: Watermelon Feta Salad ]
- To prepare ahead or not is the question I’m always asked. Hearty salads that use grains like barley or couscous are best prepared ahead, and mixed along with the dressing, so that the grains can absorb the dressing over an hour or so. More delicate salads are best tossed with the dressing just before serving or they can get very soggy. [Recipe: Rainbow Bulgar Salad]
- Salad dressings can be prepared in larger batches and stored in airtight jars in the refrigerator. Do avoid using fresh ingredients like garlic or fresh herbs in dressings that you plan to store. The oil and vinegar layer tend to separate out in the fridge, but that’s nothing to worry about. Just whisk well before you use it. [Recipe: 2 minute Creamy Turmeric Dressing]
- Gadgets like airfryers and spiralizers help prep ingredients in different ways adding interesting textures to your salad. An airfryer can be used to roast or crisp up vegetables, or even make crispy chickpeas. Spiralizers make noodles out of vegetables like beets, carrots, radish, sweet potatoes, zucchini which make for a fun salad that even your kids will approve. [Recipe: Skinny Spiralized Salad | Airfryer roasted figs and chickpeas salad ]
Get over 45 Salad Recipes on Saffrontrail.com
You can also watch my videos that will guide you on how to make salad dressings and some of my favourite salads.
[post originally published on 1 Jan 2016. Rewritten and posted on 1 Jan 2019]
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