Food, Toronto
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Salad Sensations :)

Salads often come across as something only for girls and their losing weight antics, but regardless of those comments, I could totally fall in love with a good salad be it for a starter, side, or a main dish.  So I decided to share some of my favourite combinations and secrets to making an amazing salad!

Adding watermelon and radishes along with some grilled rice noodles makes for crazy amounts of texture!

Adding watermelon and radishes along with some grilled rice noodles makes for crazy amounts of texture!

Generally for a salad, I wouldn’t discount anything from being incorporated.  Anything goes, because salads can be warm, cooked, a typical green salad, without lettuce, you name it.  With some of the random things I find in my fridge every once in a while, it can be handy to not shy away from mixing and trying new combinations.

My dinner!

My dinner!

The salad I made and enjoyed this week was a green salad topped with tons of veggies, some fruit, and cheese.  Almost every week at the grocery store I will buy the mix of spinach and arugula; both types of greens are quite bitter on their own but have more flavour than you’re traditional romaine and are less tough than kale (not to get down on those guys).  I also find that this combination works with just about anything including the addition of fruit (one of my faves) that offsets the bitter taste of the lettuce.  However, my general rule of thumb is no tomato if there’s fruit. (Seriously, I abide by this rule)

Simple side-dish with Boursin cheese, dried cranberries and broccoli! Never discount dried fruits from the mix :)

Simple side-dish with Boursin cheese, dried cranberries and broccoli! Never discount dried fruits from the mix 🙂

My mix for this week is spinach and arugula, cucumber, green pepper, radishes, and to add my little bit of extra juiciness are peaches!  After grilling off a few shrimps, I crumbled a little bit of herb-filled goat cheese to add a little bit of fresh creaminess that I get from it.  The whole salad was super light and reminds me of summer, and because the weather has been so beautiful, I’m going to take full advantage of any sort of summer we have left.

From the side of proteins, basically anything can go as well.  I often add grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, or whatever else I may have in the fridge on top.  I find it key to keep the protein simple however, just grilling it off leaves the star to the dressing of the salad.  For my vegan and vegetarian friends, adding some tofu also works; although they have to be more heavily seasoned, I often go with a simple teriyaki sauce because that can complement almost any fruit.

Adding both walnuts and green apples with a Dijon sauce, YUM!

Adding both walnuts and green apples with a Dijon sauce, YUM!

Lastly, the most important thing for a good homemade salad is the dressing.  I don’t buy premade dressings because I much prefer making them myself which also in turn makes them a heck of a lot healthier.  The basic olive oil (2 tbsp) and balsamic vinegar (1 tbsp) is always a classic (don’t forget the salt and pepper) and as long as you keep the mix between the oils and the acids at a good balance, virtually anything goes.  My personal favourite switch it using apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic, this just makes it a little bit lighter and goes even better with the fruit I often like to add in; along with this add a bit of Dijon mustard and the creaminess is out of this world without being heavy.

Just writing about this is making me hungry. Again…

1 Comment

  1. This made me super hungry! I also really enjoy the arugula/spinach mix but am always looking for new ways to counterbalance the bitterness. My all-time favourite salad starts with the arugula/spinach, then I will put either walnuts or pecans and some dried cranberries in a small pan and candy them on the stove with some maple syrup cooking them until the syrup boils (it has to be 100% pure maple syrup – no Aunt Jemima). I garnish with bite sized pieces of cooked beets and large chunks of soft goat’s cheese but usually wait to add these until after i’ve tossed the salad so that the cheese doesn’t become runny and for presentation. The dressing is very simple: 1/4 cup of orange juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tbls of balsamic vinegar (can use apple cider as well) and the zest of half an orange for texture. The salad is to die for and the maple syrup flavour makes if a great salad for fall.

    Always enjoy reading your posts Aija!

    Like

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