Get Creative With Fresh Salad Ingredients
Once upon a time, salad meant lettuce, tomato, maybe cucumber and whatever dressing you might find in the fridge. But modern salad-making can be an art form.
I like to source ultra-fresh ingredients, preferably from local farms. For most salads, a variety of greens or a grain serve as my base, then I add whatever I’m in the mood for or what needs to be eaten first. Fruits, veggies, herbs and protein foods are all options. A topping like nuts, seeds, or croutons adds crunchiness. And cheese adds even more flavor.
No salad is complete without a homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Just find a jar with a lid and combine around three parts vegetable oil with one part acid. Acid could be citrus juice or any type of vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper or any herbs that you like and shake the jar.
This citrus dressing is one of my favorites. It’s easy to make and adds a complex tanginess to any salad.
Fresh Citrus Dressing
°2 Tbsp. orange juice
°1 Tbsp. lime juice
°1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
°1 Tbsp. honey
°1 tsp. Dijon or brown mustard
°1 small clove garlic – minced or pressed
°Salt & Black Pepper
°1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place ingredients in jar with lid and shake until blended, or whisk together in a small bowl.
For a grain-based salad that takes advantage of summer herbs and peaches, try this couscous salad. You may substitute another grain, such as rice if you don’t have couscous.
Whole-Wheat Couscous Salad with Fresh Herbs and Fruit
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cup whole-wheat couscous
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ripe peach, diced
6 dried dates, chopped
5 dried figs, chopped
¼ cup toasted pistachios
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
Heat the broth or water to boiling. Add vegetable oil, pour in couscous and stir. Simmer for 1 minute, then cover and take off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
Stir together with the remaining ingredients. Tastes great served warm or cold.