There was a time many decades back when ‘salad’ usually meant a bowl of iceberg lettuce, sliced cucumbers and soggy tomato wedges. But as people’s eating habits have changed to favour more healthy, fresh, plant-based foods, so salads have evolved into deliciously abundant meals-in-one, featuring everything from grains, pulses and pastas to proteins, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, exotic leafy greens and even edible flowers.
If you’d like to take your salads to a new level of deliciousness and add more nutrition and goodness, read on for our top tips:
Lettuce Get Started!
There’s nothing wrong with a classic green salad, but you can add more nutrition and flavour by combining a variety of different nutrient-rich leafy greens in addition to ordinary lettuce, such as rocket, watercress, spinach, cabbage and kale. Two other unusual edible greens are fresh young pumpkin leaves and beetroot tops, which are delicious in salads.
It’s All About Contrast
Exciting contrasts are what turn a good salad into a great one. Make your salad sensational by including a variety of ingredients that have different textures. Here are some examples of contrasting textures:
- Soft ingredients: roasted butternut or peppers, cooked beetroot or peas, tinned beans, boiled eggs.
- Creamy ingredients: avocado, mozzarella, blue cheese
- Crunchy ingredients: celery, carrots, radishes, red onions
- Nutty ingredients: toasted nuts, roasted chickpeas, crispy bambara groundnuts
You can also experiment with contrasts in temperature! Warm salads with cool dressings are delicious, or you could add a piping-hot ingredient (such as crisped tofu or bacon) to a bowl of chilled leafy greens. Try our Warm Potato and Rocket Salad, or Honey-Roasted Root Vegetable Salad, or Spinach, Bacon and Feta Salad, they’re easy recipes that are delicious and filled with goodness.
Pack in the Protein & Consider the Carbs
Adding protein and carbohydrates to a simple salad can transform it into a full and balanced family meal. Creating multi-dimensional dinner salads is a great way to get your kids used to eating fresh veggies: at first, they may pick out only the ‘nuggets’ they like, such as feta cheese or cooked chicken, but if you make one-meal salads a regular feature at your family table, before long the kids will start trying – and loving! - the other fresh ingredients.
- For protein, add cooked chicken, turkey, beef, ostrich, fish, shellfish, cheese or boiled eggs. Try our Chicken Salad or Seared Beef, Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad.
- If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, go for firm tofu or tempeh, chia seeds, chickpeas or quinoa, which is a complete plant protein. Try our tasty Quinoa Salad or Spicy Mint and Feta Chickpea Salad, to add to your collection of vegetarian recipes.
- For carbs, add crispy croutons, potatoes, pasta, couscous, sweetcorn, wild rice, millet, bulgur wheat, beans, chickpeas or lentils. Here are some carb-rich salads for you to try: Roasted Butternut, Baby Corn and Avo Salad, Old-Fashioned Potato Salad, and Couscous Salad.
Dress for Success
The finishing touch to any great salad is, of course, the dressing, which almost always goes on just before you serve it, to prevent any crispy ingredients from turning soggy. There are dozens of classic salad dressings, including oil-based French vinaigrettes; mayonnaise- and other egg-based dressings; light, zingy Asian dressings; and dressings made with yoghurt or buttermilk.
Your choice will depend on the ingredients in your salad: creamy dressings go well with potatoes, coleslaw, eggs and seafood, for example, while lighter oil-and-vinegar vinaigrettes are better paired with leafy salads.
And if you don’t have time to make a dressing from scratch, you can always fall back on our wide range of versatile Knorr Salad Dressings – all you need to do is pop open the bottle top, and get drizzling!