Where I grew up, salads were iceberg lettuce, raw carrots, goopy tomatoes, and kraft italian dressing. No shade if that’s your jam; it just wasn’t mine. When I moved to the West Coast, salads became satisfying entrées. Among other things, the skill of salad making is one of the California ways I brought back home to North Carolina. Following are a few salad hacks I’ve identified that make a large plate of seeds and green things as appealing to create and consume as a warm pot of chili. And also, fun. I have found that there’s something exciting about creating a chili or salad with whatever is on hand, knowing that it may never be duplicated in *quite* the same way.

chop all the things

A sharp knife and chunky wooden cutting board are aesthetic catharsis to my thirty-something self. For whatever reason, chopping the actual leaves . . . the field greens and spinach and arugula, only occurred to me in recent years. It’s a game changer. It takes some of the burden of mastication off of your body which makes eating a salad feel like far less work, ha.

spruce it up

I’m not a huge fan of dressing. Slathering dressing on a salad always seemed to defeat the purpose to me. So dressings completely aside {ha}, fresh fruits or citrus juice, healthy flavorful fats, and crunchy surprises are easy and accessible ways to ‘elevate’ your salad. Some of the goods I’ve added to the repertoire: avocado {obviously}, sautéed mushrooms, salmon, shredded ahi tuna steaks, pecans, almonds, walnuts, blue cheese, goat cheese, feta, and olives. Bless.

Maybe you grew up dominating salad bars back in the days of indoor dining and buffets, but I never really knew what to do with all the options. As my palate has matured, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for all of the assorted bounty God has made available for us to salad with. For fruits, I’ve enjoyed chopped or sliced apples, strawberries, raisins, or dates. Surprisingly, salt goes a long way. As does Badia’s Chile & Lime seasoning . . . they’re not paying me to tell you that I recently stumbled upon it in the hispanic foods aisle of my local grocery store and have been putting it on everything ever since.

A note on the proteins – using baked chicken instead of grilled, and dark meat instead of white can be a nice change to add a bit more depth of flavor. If you’re not into eating things that used to walk or swim, consider some well seasoned black, pinto, or kidney beans.

shake it up . . . literally

Typically, I can get down with a clean and simple vinaigrette; however, balsamic seemed to be giving me problems lately, so I’ve actually opted out of dressing all together in a typical sense, and have been having what I refer to as chopped chicken-salad salad. The mayo, seasoning, and citrus juice I add to the chicken salad provides the perfect amount of coating to spinach and field greens when combined in a container and shaken up. I used to judge the salad shakers, but now I get it. ha.

so there you have it.

Thus concludes my how-to-salad manual. I was somewhat randomly inspired and impassioned to share some of the ways I’ve been enjoying salad lately. Especially since all the cookies I’ve posted have cost me a pair of jeans or two, ha.

. . . & & // salud!

8 responses to “how to salad”

  1. Such great ideas!! I love the pic of the strawberry/cashew/chicken lettuce at the top – so mouthwatering! 😂


  2. It’s so interesting how our tastes change as we mature. I used to hate fruit in my salad! But a good fruit & walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette is now my jam! Chopping was also a game changer for me, especially when taking salads to work to inhale during my 30 minute lunch break (I’m still salty at whoever thought 30 minutes was adequate time for lunch).

    Liked by 1 person


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