Cooking Tips for Perfect Salad Recipes
If you are using cooked ingredients which need to be cold (for example, chopped egg in an egg salad) then you will need to prepare them in advance so they have time to cool. If you are using cooked ingredients which need to be warm (for example, warm chicken breasts on a bed of mixed leaves) then you can prepare the base of the salad as the warm ingredient is cooking.
Some people like to serve warm chicken breast on top of thinly sliced mozzarella because the cheese melts and sticks to the chicken, giving it a lovely texture.
How to Keep Salad Fresh
Perhaps you need to make a large tossed salad a day in advance and keep it fresh. If so, you can store it in big containers with lids or in a large bowl. Completely cover the salad with water and refrigerate it overnight.
Drain well before serving, and the salad will be crisp and fresh the following day. For this kind of salad, use cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, green onions, celery, radishes, bell pepper, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots or cauliflower. Do not add the tomatoes until just before serving.
Ripe Ingredients are Important
Make sure all your ingredients are ripe. Tomatoes or avocados which are slightly too hard can mar a salad, as can overripe vegetables which have begun to go mushy. You can tell if tomatoes are ripe by pressing them. They should be slightly soft but not wrinkled or too soft.
When avocados are squishy at the thin end, they are usually ripe enough to use. If not, you can cover them in oil and bake them in a warm oven until they soften a little, then toss the chopped pieces with chopped chicken, chopped mozzarella and perhaps some chopped tomatoes and mayonnaise, to make a delicious salad recipe.
How to Make Your Salad Satisfying
The way to ensure your salad is filling is to make sure you add enough protein, carbs, and fat to it, so it is well balanced. There are plenty of things you can add to make your salad satisfying and delicious, and even making sure you have plenty of texture in the salad can make it more satisfying. It is worth learning a few tips and tricks about how to make salad which is substantial and filling, so you can always put together a lunch or dinner salad and be happy with the outcome.
Warm ingredients like bell peppers, sautéed onions or mushrooms, and meats will warm up the greens and wilt them a little, giving more character and depth to the salad. Let these additions cool down a little before spooning them on to the plate though. A warm salad can be nice but you do not have to serve a piping hot one.
You can add half a cup of warm brown rice to your salad to make it more satisfying. Another good tip to make a hearty salad is to add nuts. Sliced almonds and walnuts are especially good, but you could also try cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or peanuts. These of course will add crunch as well as flavor and texture, and make the salad more interesting.
More Appetizing Additions
Beans like edamame, black beans, and chickpeas add fiber, and half an avocado can also be very nice. Add a few slices of smoked salmon for an upscale dish, or combine a little quinoa, bulgur wheat, or couscous with the salad leaves to make the dish more filling. This also adds extra texture and makes the meal more interesting. You could combine two or even three kinds of grains, and this is also a good way to use up leftover cooked grains.
Fried, poached or boiled egg is a nice way to liven up your salad, or even sliced cold omelet strips (that would work on an Asian salad) and you can add leftover grilled meat to make the meal more substantial. Adding canned fish like sardines to your salad is a great way to add omega-3 oils as well as extra protein. Well-drained tuna is another idea, or even canned mackerel or salmon.
Get the Portion Sizes Right
As well as what you add to the salad, portion sizes are important. A small plate of salad might suffice as an appetizer, first course, or side dish, but if you are serving a bowl of salad for lunch or dinner it will need to be more substantial. Salad can make a successful main dish, but unless it is bulked out with adequate protein, carbs, and fat, it is not going to be especially satisfying.
If you want something healthy, you can use mainly greens, veggies and protein (chicken, fish or eggs perhaps) and cut down on the dairy ingredients, as well as opting for a low-fat dressing. A salad with plenty of interesting flavors and textures is automatically more exciting and tempting than a boring plateful of leaves and not much else.
In this photo you can see a colorful salad which features both fruit and veggies. Adding fruit to your salad adds a delicious sweetness, and fruit is great because it complements vegetables, cheese, seafood, and even meat, making it a worthwhile ingredient to consider. Try combining blue cheese and spinach with strawberries and almonds, or adding some drained, canned mandarin segments to a tossed green salad. Sliced apple or pear is nice with a cold meat salad. Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. They are also very flavorful and allow you to make many different salad combinations.
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