As a salad fanatic, I have mastered the art of carefully crafting the perfect plate of mixed greens topped with veggies and packed with proteins. Variety makes this deliciously healthy meal a masterpiece, and the best part is that it’s completely customizable!
Depending on your mood, the time of day, the ingredients that are in season or available to you, or the crowd you are serving, you can turn a salad into the ultimate centerpiece.
The foundation of any good salad is the right type of lettuce. This may sound like a simple step, but the type of lettuce you use truly determines the taste and texture of the meal. For example, everyone knows that Romaine works best in Caesar salads…can you imagine making it with the light and fluffy Butter variety? What would that do to the texture and feel? Would the Caesar dressing make the Butter lettuce too heavy and damp?
A common lunch time favorite of mine is a walnut, cranberry salad made with fresh spinach leaves, dusted with Feta cheese and drizzled with a light Balsamic Vinaigrette. The solid stems and specific taste of the spinach leaves pack a pungent punch, the solid leaves are strong enough to cradle the walnuts, and the Feta pairs perfectly with this unique garden variety.
If you want the greens to take the spotlight in the salad rather than the added ingredients, use a Spring Mix that includes baby Romaine and oak leaf lettuces, Swiss chard, arugula, frisée, and radicchio. This will send your tastebuds into a whirlwind of excitement and allow you to keep the additions to a minimum.
If you want the ingredients to take charge, however, you may want to stick to a more bland variety, such as a basic Iceberg. This leaf can be piled high with sauteed vegetables, sprinkled with fresh Parmesan and tucked between fresh fruits or grilled chicken.
Whatever your taste, let the garden be your palette and create your masterpiece! Click here for a simple guide to lettuce varieties from the Huffington Post.
What’s your favorite lettuce? COMMENT BELOW to share!