It’s that time of the year when cooking or eating the regular stuff seems like such a tremendously heavy task. Who on earth would want to slave away in a hot kitchen anyway ? The heat is also responsible for taking away appetites and reducing the urge for heavy duty foods.
A salad meal is cool, easy, healthy and trendy. If you’re one such who’s a tad taken in by the multiple and exotic ingredients and dressings and methods and don’t quite know how or where to begin ( unless you’re at the Tree of Life, of course where our resident Master Chef will whip up your heart’s desire ), worry not.
We’ve got it all lined up for you – so read on ! We’ve got a basic salad and basic salad dressing recipe lined up for you. Try it. It’s incredibly simple. Once you’ve tried and mastered it – you know where to begin and what variations to experiment with. It will actually turn into a journey of discovery – until one day you’ll be known as the salad expert !
Get a head of lettuce.
Wash the lettuce thoroughly in a bowl. Break the leaves off, and rub the lettuce under cold water, then dry. Dry thoroughly using a kitchen towel or use a salad spinner. If you prefer, you may add on other mixed greens. Romaine, and red-tip lettuce are great options for a salad, as are radicchio, spinach, curly endive, and kale.
Add vegetables that you like
Wash and chop a few fresh veggies to toss into the salad. Add interesting flavors, such as tomatoes, celery, and herbs. Avocados, almonds, broccoli, and apples are among the healthiest foods, so you could add these. Other healthy vegetable options include bell peppers, goat cheese, carrots, cucumbers, pomegranate seeds, mozzarella cheese, figs. Do not overload your salad with too many vegetables, however.
Step 3 Add on meat
For a salad with extra protein, add chopped pieces of meat, or chicken or fish. .White meat works best in salads, but dark meat is fine.If you have leftover chicken or turkey, dice the meat into small cubes, and toss it into the salad.
Step 4 Keep it vegetarian
Tofu or cottage cheese chunks are good options for any meat-free salad with all the protein power. Or toss in hard boiled eggs !
Nuts add delicious crunch
Pine nuts, pistachios, cashews, and even peanuts are packed with healthy oils and protein. Almonds may be the healthiest, most protein-rich nut you can add in a salad.
Add on grain
Whole wheat pasta or Quinoa are great options instead of meat. Or try Orzo – a small, seed-shaped pasta that cooks quickly. Quinoa is a grain-like crop, often used as a substitute for rice. Quinoa is healthier, but both are delicious in salad.
Dress it up A salad needs a dressing to make it complete. Salad dressings consist of oil, an acid, and seasonings. The ratio of oil to acid is often 3:1. This means for every three tablespoons of oil, you would use one tablespoon of acid. For a basic versatile dressing simply whisk 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add salt ( sea salt is great ) and freshly cracked black pepper to taste and you’re set. For a twist – add a dash of ready made salad dressing – but its not really needed. Lemon juice can be substituted with balsamic vinegar. Also, any citrus juice (orange juice and grapefruit juice) works well with vinegar (apple cider or white wine vinegar).
The golden rule is that when it comes to salad, there’s no need to follow a “recipe.” If you’re missing an ingredient, replace it with something else that will provide the same effect (crunch, spice, tang, creaminess, etc). No one will know and it’ll still be delicious!
Enjoy your Salad Days ! Or simply spend quality time with our Master Chef in residence at the tree of life and feast on the most exotic, awesome salads !