One of the fascinating things about salads is that you can, literally, have one every single day of the year and never have two exactly the same. Of course, if you have a particular combo that rocks your boat, you can easily have the exact same one every day – I won’t judge you.
- They’re colorful and beautiful! A gorgeous salad makes any meal look more beautiful. They’ve been known to even upstage a lasagna.. trust me, I was there.
- They’re delicious. Even people who don’t think they like vegetables CAN find salad combinations they like. Iceberg lettuce, which doesn’t have a lot of flavor is a great start for the non-veggie crowd. Add tomatoes (which almost everyone loves) and go from there. A lot of strides can be taken with those who “don’t like salads” with the dressing. If they’re fans of mustard, try a honey mustard dressing. If they love Ranch (who doesn’t?), make them a great Ranch dressing.
- They’re healthy. Along with soup (something else I’m all about), salads present you with a perfect opportunity to get your daily veggie count up. Leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, as are broccoli and cauliflower and they’re all excellent salad co-stars. But it doesn’t stop with the veggies. You can work EVEN more nutrients and vitamins in by topping your salad with flaxseed, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, and/or chia seeds.
- colorful lettuce – several varieties, preferably
- deviled eggs or hard-boiled eggs
- cherry peppers
- baby carrots
- pickled beets
- shredded cheese
- bacon bits (extra points if they’re homemade)
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- pickled okra
- chopped green onions
- chopped bell pepper
- pickled jalapeno slices
- several dressings to choose from
- Topping Ideas: sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed
My Favorite Buttermilk Dressing Recipe:
I’m as fanatical about making homemade salad dressings as I am about what I put into my actual salad. Pre-made dressings are filled with preservatives and, generally speaking, a lot of unnecessary sugar. It’s healthier, smarter, and a lot more delicious to simply make your own.
Think of your own favorite dressings and find or create recipes that blow you away. It’s always best to have quite a few in your arsenal. My favorite salad dressing is French (see the Best French Salad Dressing), so I almost always have a jar of homemade French Salad Dressing made up.
Another of my favorite “dressings” for salads is to simply drizzle the salad with really good olive oil, squeeze on some lemon juice, then top with freshly ground black pepper and a little salt. This is more delicious than it even has a right to be.
If you like creamy Ranch and Buttermilk dressings, you’re going to love the one below. It’s one of the best dressings you ever put a fork into. This is a recipe from an old Betty Crocker’s cookbook, called Buttermilk Dressing and it is the bomb diggity.
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon instant minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper (or white pepper to keep the dressing whiter in color)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Mix all ingredients and cover with wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate any left over dressing. Makes 1-1/4 cups dressing.
The cookbook also says that you can make this a Buttermilk Parmesan Dressing by adding 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. I love the original so much I’ve never even tried this version – but now I want desperately to do just that!
Hmmmm, guess I’d better make a salad….