November 28, 2014
Posted in: Culinary Arts

178494661People shy away from salads because lettuce can be pretty boring on its own. Spice up any salad with these toppings and you will find yourself actually wanting to eat your greens!

 

Okra croutons
If you’re attending Texas culinary arts courses, you’ve likely come across okra. This green vegetable is delicious when fried. Paula Deen has an awesome recipe for fried okra croutons. Cover medium-sized pieces of the veggie with buttermilk, and add salt and pepper. Then toss the pieces in flour so they have an even coating. Fry them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes and voila! Croutons. Add them to any salad for a zesty crunch.

Fruit
Especially during the summertime when they’re easy to come by, berries are a great choice for a salad topper. Try blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries to add a touch of sweetness to a salad. These fruits are great when added to a bitter dark green like kale or arugula because they help to sweeten the dish. They are also excellent when used in a vinaigrette. Apples and oranges are another great fruit choice to liven up a salad. If you don’t want to add pieces of the fruit, use just the zest of a citrus fruit or even the juice.

Herbs
Most salad dressings are made with some kind of herbs, but why not skip the dressing and put them right in the dish? Rosemary, thyme, basil, mint and lemongrass are great ways to add flavor to a salad.

453213633Salt and pepper
The delightful simplicity of a green leafy salad with salt and pepper cannot be ignored. The bold flavor of freshly ground pepper and salt brings out the bitter and sweet tastes of the lettuce and other veggies, and will be a treat for your senses.

 

Beans
Chickpeas, black beans, lima beans, you name it – beans are a great addition to salad. Beans add an interesting texture as well as fiber and protein, which will amplify your healthy dish.

Nuts
Have you ever used toasted pine nuts in a salad? The light, golden flavor of the nuts is a delicious addition. Another great option is to add candied nuts. For a salad with bitter greens or radishes, candied nuts add a sugary, nutty flavor that helps balance out the strong flavors of the vegetables. They’re also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your heart.

salad seedsSeeds
To add some meaty flavor to your salad, try some seeds. Season pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper and bake them for 5-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Once cooled, sprinkle them over your salad for a crunchy, salty treat. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are other great option to add some flavor and crunch.

Grains
Salads are a great place to experiment with textures. Grains like quinoa, Israeli couscous and faro are all great choices to bring in some unexpected texture. They are chewy and savory and will make a great addition to your salad.

Cheese
Add some feta, bleu or parmesan cheese as a topping on your next salad. Whether it’s crumbled, grated or sliced, you will love the creamy, rich goodness that cheese adds to your already awesome mix of veggies.