5 Super Easy Tips for a Perfect Garden Salad
What color comes into your mind when you hear the word “salad”?
Mostly green, right?
But what if I add the word “garden” right before it?
Garden salad. How does that look now in your mind?
Well, a garden is definitely lush, colorful, just so delightful to look at.
So that’s how YOUR garden salad is supposed to be - colorful, green, appetizing, a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds.
It doesn’t have to be bland, or dull, and most definitely not boring.
In fact, you can make it super exciting that even the kids would fall in love with it!
How the heck can you do that?
Stay with me and I’ll share with you my ultimate secret to the perfect gourmet garden salads you can make today.
1. Think about your garden salad recipe.
Let’s begin with the greens part of your salad.
Maybe you’ve spotted bags of mixed greens at the grocery store and thought about grabbing these and tossing them into a bowl for your big salad for the evening.
Well, you can also make your own and let your creativity fly by experimenting with a bunch of salad greens.
The rule of thumb is to consider the flavor and the texture of the different greens. Just because they have the same color, that doesn’t mean they feel or taste the same.
For example, kale, iceberg, and romaine have that crunch, as compared to a spinach, bokchoy, and basil.
As for the taste, iceberg is significantly bland while arugula and mizuna have a peppery bite.
I suggest that you have a variety of texture in your garden salad to make it more interesting. Combine your crunchy greens with softer ones, and same goes with the different flavors.
Punch up your salad with insanely nutritious greens such as Swiss chard, kale, romaine, spinach, arugula, and maybe introduce something exotic like the mizuna and dandelion greens that are packed with minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
Pretty simple and totally doable garden salad ideas, right?
2. Add some color and variety to your garden green salad.
Your garden salad should be a feast to the senses. Not only should it taste and feel good when you eat it, but it must LOOK good.
You know that feeling when you come across a great-looking photo of a dish? It’s like you can almost smell, taste, and feel it, right?
That’s how appetite starts and builds up - when it’s pleasing to the eyes.
I mean, come on, who would want to eat a bowl of just… greens?
Number one, it’s not interesting enough. And number two, the nutrients are too limited.
So you want to toss in other stuff in your simple garden salad recipe that not only make it highly nutritious and tasty, but damn pretty at the same time!
I would put chopped red bell pepper in there, some sweet yellow corn kernels, sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, snipped dill, thinly sliced red onion, maybe some shredded red cabbage, black olives, mushrooms, lightly browned tofu…
The works, baby!
Play with the colors, invite different kinds of flavor in your garden salad, and you’ll attract the butterflies… Er, your salad-hungry kids and spouse!
3. Cut and slice your garden salad ingredients in style.
Since we’re in the topic of “looking good”, you would want to take things to the next level by adding some style to the way you slice and chop your toppings.
Don’t just kind of randomly slice stuff that the whole thing look all over the place.
Putting some art to the way you chop, slice, and cut your veggies will give a MASSIVE effect to the overall appearance of your garden salad.
For your greens, cut them up into bite-sized portions, so they don’t dangle from your mouth, or you won’t end up choking on them because they’re too big.
Carrots look nice when you cut them in strips, same with your bell pepper.
Thinly slice your onions, but don’t do the same to your cucumber. Your cucumber will look nicer when sliced at about half an inch thick. Leave the skin on if it’s organic. That adds to the color, and of course, the nutritional value.
Slice your cherry tomatoes in half, especially if you’ve got kids. You don’t want them to choke on these tomatoes in case they accidentally swallow them whole.
Then you have your olives, get the seed out and slice them in thin circles.
I would leave my basil and mint leaves looking the way they are, and same for small spinach leaves and arugula. They’re perfect as they are, so don’t mince or cut them up that they look weird already.
Shred your red cabbage, and make it thin enough so it’s easy to chew.
When you add some slicing style to your salad toppings, they’ll look much nicer and easier to chew. Plus, that should make your salad kid-friendly, too!
4. Choose the right garden salad dressing.
Nope, you can’t just dump in any dressing for your garden salad. That’s just going to ruin it.
Even if you absolutely LOVE your olive garden salad dressing...
So when choosing the best salad dressing, you have to consider a few things.
First, hardy or heavy dressing goes best for hardy greens. Thick dressing will make your delicate greens such as your baby spinach and arugula wilt and drowned.
On the other hand, you can use your heavy dressing for your kale, Swiss chard, and romaine without a problem.
Another thing - emulsify.
Not nerding out here or anything, but if you want to keep the flavor balanced and full-bodied, adding in an emulsifier to your balsamic vinegar is the way to go. I would use honey or just a small amount of mayo to make sure the vinegar and oil hold tightly to my salad greens instead of just kind of floating around.
If you don’t emulsify, your vinaigrette won’t cling to your greens, so you won’t end up getting the flavor you’re after.
5. Check the clock before you serve your vegetable salad.
Worst thing you can do is to cause your greens to wilt because of two things - one, you dumped your dressing on too soon, and number two, you just left your salad in a warm temperature.
The result: Soggy, un-garden salad-looking.
It’s kind of like your garden in April - drenched, wilted, runny.
So here’s my advice. If you’re eating the salad within 3 to 5 minutes, then go ahead and mix the dressing already.
But if it will still take several minutes, it’s best to not add the dressing yet and keep the salad inside the fridge to keep it fresh. Store the salad in an air-tight container and take it out once everyone’s seated and ready to dig in.
Make the Best Garden Salad Recipe Today!
It’s not rocket science to prepare the perfect, great-tasting garden salad.
Anyone can do it, and so can you!
It just takes some art, some preparation and storage know-hows for you to not screw up your salad while making sure it tastes uber amazing.
So give these tips a try and dish out that restaurant-quality, good-for-you, super tasty fresh garden salad that the whole family will love!