Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Time Salads

I know what you're thinking - Katelyn, why are you devoting an ENTIRE blog post to salads, they are SO BORING. I am writing this post to, well, prove all you haters out there wrong. I am a huge fan of salads, but admit that they can be kind of boring sometimes, which is why I have made it my goal to make exciting, tasty, healthy, and intriguing salads this summer. First, let's answer the question: why salad?

With my summertime work schedule, I don't get to eat much of a lunch and tend to work right through from breakfast to around 4:30 when I get home, which means I arrive home ravenous at not-the-most opportune time. My solution? Have a substantial snack, something like a piece of peanut butter toast and an apple, cottage cheese and strawberries, or hummus and carrot sticks, and then go on with the rest of my day until dinner time, which is usually a few hours later. Since I just ate, my dinners have consisted of a lot of hearty salads, as they are light and filling, quick and easy, they make me feel healthy, are customizable, I get my vegetables in, and they are great ways to clean out the fridge. What's not to love?

So the key is to be excited about your salad. Buy some interesting ingredients to make the dressing, or try a new vegetable, fruit, nut, or leafy green to switch things up a bit. Here are some tips that I have been using to build the best spring time salad possible.

Tip #1: Make your own dressing.
I know, I know. That takes more time than pouring it out of a bottle. But here are some reasons why you should make your own:
  • Statistically, you use less dressing if you make your own.
  • There is less mystery stuff in homemade dressings.
  • You can control the taste, so if you like it spicy, sweeter, or creamier, you make make that happen.
  • Homemade dressings are better for you, hands down.

I started my going to a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop here in Lexington, which turned into a very dangerous place for me to be - I luckily got out of there with minimal damage to my bank account, but have already planned a second trip back.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar, Basil Olive Oil, Roasted Garlic Sea Salt, and Lemon Twist Sea Salt. Perfect dressing makings!
Just a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil, and a sprinkling of garlic salt and I am well on my way to dinnertime bliss.

Tip #2: Remember texture.
Some people, falsely, think salads are boring because they miss out on all the great mouth-feels and textures that accompany all our favorite dishes. So add lots of texture to your salads - creamy avocado (I am still trying to learn how to like them,) crunchy nuts, tender spinach, crispy asparagus, hearty mushrooms, the possibilities are endless!
"Total" cereal chicken chunks, tender asparagus, spinach, romaine, tomato,  and bell pepper.

Tip #3: Use leftovers.
Salads really are a great way to clean out the fridge. I had some pesto potatoes left over from another dinner and decided to throw those in my salad one night, and voila! A completely different salad yet again. This can be done with shredded chicken, leftover beans or steamed veggies, grilled shrimp or steak, and fruit from breakfast - anything! Get creative and let you fridge do the work.
Pesto potatoes, tomato, asparagus, and romaine.

Just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and some basil olive oil on top of some leftover roasted veggies and I was good to go!
Happy salad making!


  1. I honestly do not normally like salads but this actually looks pretty good. I know that I need to incorporate more "greenery" into my diet.

    1. It's all about making sure that you incorporate at least SOMETHING in the salad that you can't wait to eat. In the ones above, I loved the crispy chicken, the strawberry balsamic vinegar, and the roasted pesto potatoes. If you make sure you get a bite in each forkful, you are set to have a really healthy and rewarding dinner.