By Tora Matys
As the heat continues in Edmonton, nobody wants to turn on the oven or stand over a hot stove. Salads can be an easy and nutritious option for any time of the day with no extra heat required.
Some people think salads are lame, however a good salad goes beyond the typical caesar, and invites a new flavour experience with every bite.
An amazing salad can be broken up into three main categories: the Base, the Fixins, and the Dressing. Don’t be afraid to mix different leafy greens together or add both dried and fresh fruit. Get creative with the dressing.
Making an exciting salad starts with a good Base. Gone are the days of just romaine or iceberg lettuce, mix in some spinach or cabbage. An easy way out is to just purchase a box or bag of spring mix, which will typically make seven to ten servings, making it an economical option for students.
Each type of lettuce has its own flavour, some are more bitter or peppery, such as Arugula or Radicchio, while others can be almost sweet, like Butterhead lettuce.
To start, choose two to four different greens and add them into a large bowl. The bigger the bowl the better because everything added goes into the same vessel.
Greens (Choose 2-4)
The next part of making a salad that people want to eat is the Fixins. The Fixins can be broken into four more categories, Fruits & Veggies, The Crunch, Protein and Cheese, with the last two categories being optional. There’s really no limit to how many a person could add and these next steps this is where creativity can really shine.
A good rule of thumb is to add at least three different fruits or vegetables, at least one element of crunch, one protein and one cheese.
Fruit & Veggies (Choose 3 or more)
It’s suggested to only pick one protein source or it can cause the salad to be really heavy.
A pro-tip for a protein source is to purchase a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Safeway or Superstore. They are inexpensive and the hot work is already done. One chicken can make it into five to seven salads.
There’s definitely more options for protein that makes a good salad, however the ones listed below require no cooking.
While totally optional, cheese can really take the salad to the next level. There’s a theory that cheese tastes different every way it’s cut, so be creative and try cubing, shredding or using a cookie cutter to make fun shapes.
The Crunch Factor
Now arguably the most important part of the salad: The Crunch Factor. Crunch is needed in a good salad to stop it from being a boring soggy mess. While a good crisp vegetable will bring some crunch to a salad, it’s just not the same as a good crouton or some sunflower seeds.
Choose 1 or more
Finally it’s time to dress the salad, and while of course anyone can buy a bottle of their favourite dressing, why not make their own dressing?
A simple vinaigrette is made up of three parts: An oil, an acid and an emulsifier (something to force the oil and acid together). Pick one from each category. Then, add some spices, if desired, and put them all into a mason jar or tiny blender and shake the living hell out of it.
Now that a revolutionary salad has been made, eat it fresh, meal prep it or, to really change it up, put it all in a wrap.