How to Make the Perfect Salad that Won’t Let You Down!
I used to dread eating salad. I threw some lettuce in a bowl and topped it with a few veggies (whatever was on hand), grabbed a dresssing from the pantry, and, badabing badaboom, I had my salad. Yes, it seemed boring and bland, but it was a necessary evil to stay on track for with my never-ending weight watching diet, not to mention my nutrional needs, right?
Hold the phone! It turns out I was doing it all wrong! And, it took me embarking on a Food Budget Lifestyle to figure that out!
As you’ve probably figured out from the above description of my (lack of) salad finesse, I’m not the most gifted homemaker in the world! I used to think cooking was a bother – to be avoided at all costs! That was, until the end of December, when we invested in Quicken, a life-changing product, and discovered what a lack of planning was costing us in FOOD. My readers know the figure, but for today, let’s leave it at this: I could’ve bought a new car! That is how I came to my Food Budget Lifestyle and found that eating well is actually far more attainable on a budget (to see why and learn how you, too, can save with just a few tricks, check out my book, which you can purchase for just $2.99 here.
This journey is what led me to discover how awesome a good salad could be! Here are a five tips for the perfect salad!
- SLOW DOWN! Rather than just mindlessly tossing ingredients together, give it some thought. There are tons of recipes for amazing salads if you do a quick Internet search, so check them out!
- PLAN AHEAD. Last week I made an amazing Turkey-Apple Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette that I can’t stop raving about! If I hadn’t planned ahead, found the recipe, and secured the ingredients, I never would have enjoyed one of the best salads I’ve ever had!
- STOCK A FEW ITEMS IN YOUR PANTRY. For lunches, or times when you find that you don’t have a recipe to go on (or you want to add to the recipe you have), be sure to have a stocked pantry of salad ingredients – think chickpeas, white cannelleni beans, waterchestnuts, tuna, slivered or crushed nuts. These are great additions to pep up plain spring mix salad and turn it into something hearty! Don’t forget the basics for homemade dressings. Having cider vinegar and olive oil on hand can go a long way towards adding zest to your salad!
- VARIETY. Don’t do what I used to do – always use the same lettuce. No wonder I was bored! There are so many leafy products to choose from rather than the standard Spring Mix. Romaine, Iceberg, Baby Spinach, Kale…the list goes one and on! Use one or more in your salad and change-it up each week!
- THINK IN FOURS. I try to shoot for four aspects to my salad – the building block of the lettuce, a protein, something crunchy (apples, nuts, seeds, croutons), and any extras such as cucumbers, sprouts, bell peppers, or purple onions. This mix will make your salad much more satisfying than simply tossing lettuce with cucumbers!
I will leave you with a recipe that is quick and delicious. One I made myself that started me reconsidering the utility and virtues of a good old salad, my Tuscan Shrimp and White Bean Salad, made with Herbs de Provence.
Tuscan Shrimp and White Bean Salad,
1/4 pound Whole, Wild Caught, Shrimp, deveined, tails-on
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 t. Herbs de Provence Seasoning (or season to taste)
1 14 oz. can White Cannelleni Beans
2 – 3 Cups lettuce – Preferably Torn Romaine or Spring Mix Salad
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. white wine vinegar, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste (can be left out completely if you prefer).
Toss the shrimp with the Herbs de Provence and set to the side. Heat the EVO on a large frying pan; when hot add the shrimp and sauté for about 5 minutes or so, until the shrimp are opaque. During the last few minutes, toss in the beans and contine to sauté for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside in a separate bowl.
Prepare the dressing by mixing together and whisking well. Toss the lettuce with the dressing to coat.
Lay the shrimp over the bed of lettuce and enjoy!
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