-Your guide to making a perfect salad every time! –
I’m sure you have all heard of it and most of you have already tried a version at least once.
We, Greeks, absolutely love our “horiatiki” – which means the villager’s salad – and we enjoy it throughout the long, greek summer. And even though you can find it in greek tavernas all year round, in my own humble opinion, it should be a strictly spring and summer dish. When the tomatoes are ripe and juicy, the cucumbers fresh and crisp and the peppers crunchy and as green as mother nature can make them.
If we break a Greek salad down to its ingredients, we’ll realize it’s just perfect!
It has everything.
All macronutrients in perfect balance. A generous amount of carbohydrates from all the fresh vegetables, a small amount of healthy fat from the olive oil and a little protein from the feta cheese. It has even got its share of intrinsic sugar found in the fruity tomato and lots of antioxidants from the oregano. What more could we ask for?
And that’s how a perfect salad should be. Nutritionally balanced, with a variety of tastes, flavors and colors and, most importantly, made according to our individual preferences.
It’s not that difficult to make your own. Just follow the eight simple steps below.
1. Choose a salad base.
A green, leafy vegetable is the most suitable base for a fresh salad.
You can pick one of the following: romaine lettuce, kale, cabbage, arugula, spinach, iceberg lettuce, greens, etc.
2. Add an additional green vegetable.
You can add a different leafy one or go for starchy vegetables instead and add variety.
Try cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, spring onion, etc.
3. Add color.
We don’t want our salad to be the “fifty shades of green” now, do we? Let’s make it a little more vibrant with a colorful addition!
You can use carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, corn, red onions, etc.
4. Add a fruit.
Maybe you have already used tomatoes, but one more fruity flavor is not a bad idea.
If you don’t like sweetness in your salad you can omit this step or add avocado or olives.
If you like sweets, try small pieces of fresh fruit. Apples, pears, strawberries, peaches, pomegranates, pineapple, etc.
If you like it too sweet, try dried fruit which have an even bigger concentration of sugar. Prunes, apricots, raisins, cranberries, dates, blueberries, etc.
5. Add something crunchy.
Freshly-cut vegetables are already crispy but a little extra crunchiness will add even more freshness to your salad and make it more filling. You can make your own croutons or add nuts or seeds which is your best option.
You can choose among walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame, etc.
6. Add a protein source.
That’s where you make your salad a balanced meal. You can choose from a wide variety of protein sources.
Try adding eggs, cheese, tuna, salmon, seafood, chicken, etc.
If you’re a vegetarian, you can opt for plant-based proteins like legumes or nuts.
Good protein sources are beans, lentils, chickpeas, edamame, almonds, etc.
7. Add a herb.
Or more if you like, but usually when it comes to herbs in a salad, a little goes a long way. We don’t want to cover up the freshness of our vegetables. We just want a little extra touch of aroma.
Try basil, spearmint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, dill, parsley, etc.
8. Time to dress it up!
Skip the mayonnaise and other fatty dressings and go healthy. Pick a healthy kind of oil as your base. Olive oil is your best choice but sesame oil is also good. Add an acidic substance like lemon juice or vinegar. In fact that’s all you need to make a perfect vinaigrette.
However, if you feel bold enough to experiment or you absolutely need a rich, creamy dressing, then get creative! Pick ingredients like yogurt, cream cheese, mustard, tahini, honey, molasses, peanut butter and discover new taste combinations.
Follow this guide every time, all the steps or some of them, according to your personal taste and preferences, and you’re sure to enjoy perfect salads every time!
And here’s a pinable image for you to save:
My absolute favorite additions in a salad are walnuts, dried cranberries and parmezan flakes.
What are yours?