Friday, January 29, 2016

Make It Interesting - Wintry Salad Ideas

Whenever I design salad combinations, I focus on bringing together lots of colors, textures and foods from different food groups. I especially love to add nuts, unusual vegetables, crumbly cheeses and fresh and dried fruits to salads because they add such a depth of texture and flavor. This post offers many unique, crowd-pleasing ideas that often use a vast variety of all the foods I love in a salad. This is by no means a comprehensive list, it's just some of my favorite salad additions.

Remember, color is important; if your meal is visually attractive, eaters are more likely to appreciate and indulge. Balance and variety are vital for optimum nutrition. Eating foods at the height of their growing seasons, when food is at its peak flavor, affords you the most nutrients. So the fresh fruits and vegetables listed are what's in season in most regions across the USA during the winter months. Notice, arugula is the only lettuce leaf listed!

Beans, grains and starch: short and interesting shaped pasta, chick peas, tri-color quiona, wild rice, potatoes
Vegetables: fennel, purple cabbage, mushrooms, jicima, radish, sprouts, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, green beans, arugula, beets
Frozen vegetables: edamame, peas, corn
Traditionally preserves fruits and vegetables: mandarin oranges, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm
Fresh Fruit: blood oranges, pineapple, kiwi, honey bells, tangerines, grapefruit, apples, pears, pomegranate, grapes
Dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries
Nuts and seeds: sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts
Cheese: Feta, blue cheese, Parmesan, Asiago, Roquefort, cheddar, Havarti
Protein: shrimp, chicken, slices of beef, tuna, ham
Other foods that add a depth of flavor, texture, color and nutrition: olives, hard-boiled eggs, croutons, avocado, herbs

Did I miss one of your favorite salad additions?

Happy Cooking!