Eating salad can often feel like a chore or a punishment, especially when you don't have a first thing about how to make one.
But we're here to show you that with a little planning, you can build a salad that you're not only going to want to eat but look forward to.
The main problem people face when making a salad is that they're either too boring or overloaded with toppings that don't go together.
So we're here to help you find a middle ground.
Every salad should have seven components: greens, protein, a carb, veggies and fruit, if you want, something creamy or fatty, something crunchy, and a flavor punch.
So, let's start with the greens. Here we have mesclun, spinach, arugula, and kale.
Choosing a variety of greens is going to make your salad more interesting.
So we're going to add some spinach and arugula to mix things up.
Now moving on to protein. Here we have chicken, baked tofu, hard-boiled eggs, and shrimp.
You could add any protein you like.
Adding protein to salad is super important because it's what's going to fill you up, and it's a way you can really turn a salad into a meal.
Today, we're in the mood for chicken.
Now for the carb. Stick with carbs like sweet potatoes, chickpeas, quinoa, or black beans.
Try to include complex carbs like whole grains or beans to give you long-lasting energy.
And avoid white flours like pasta.
For veggies and fruits, try tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, apples, or carrots.
It's okay to add a few of these.
These will help fill your salad out and also make sure you're eating the rainbow.
Now for some crunch.
There are so many options, like sesame sticks, pepitas, walnuts, croutons, or even crispy fried onions.
Adding some crunch is going to give your salad some texture and liven things up.
Finally, we have to add our flavor punch, like fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, or olives.
This is what's going to give your salad that wow factor.
But you also want to make sure you don't overload on these because they can definitely clash.
And now, it's time to make our vinaigrette.
So, to make a vinaigrette, you really only need four ingredients: oil, acid, an emulsifier, and seasoning.
First, we're going to combine our acid and emulsifier.
We're going with red wine vinegar for an acid and Dijon mustard for an emulsifier.
Next, you're going to stream in your oil of choice as you whisk everything together.
Incorporating the oil slowly and including an emulsifier will prevent the oil and acid from separating.
For our seasoning, we're going with salt, pepper, and dried oregano.
But the possibilities here are endless!
Get crazy and experiment with different flavor combinations because a delicious vinaigrette can really take a salad to the next level.
And that's all there is to it. Vinaigrettes are super easy to make.
And by preparing them yourself, you'll know exactly what's in them.
The key to keeping salads from getting boring is switching them up.
So even if you find a flavor combination you love, keep trying new ingredients and keep experimenting.
And before you know it, you may even find that salad has become something you're craving.