Salads can be varied and delicious. I grew up with iceberg lettuce where you added the same old, same old. Tomatoes, radishes, celery, green onions, etc. And if you were having company you “even” made your own ranch dressing, otherwise, it’s the bottled variety. And that was before they had fancy dressings available on your store shelf.
Through the years and living in a myriad of places, our tastes have changed. A large part of that is due to the vast amount of ingredients now readily available to us. Farmers markets are wonderful for obtaining fresh fruits and produce that are in season.
As they say; we’ve come a long way baby. Here are few of my favorite salads.
Mandarin Orange Salad. Mix romaine and iceberg or leafy greens with drained canned mandarin oranges, or fresh orange segments with green onions, English cucumber, celery slices and candied almonds. Serve with a sweet ‘n sour dressing.
Goes perfectly with an Asian influenced meal.
Chopped Salad. Mix romaine and fresh baby spinach with apple chunks, crisp bacon pieces, blue cheese chunks, dried cranberries, and toasted pecans. Serve with a sweet maple, orange, Dijon vinaigrette.
Goes perfectly with chicken or pork with a side of sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
Strawberry & Blue Cheese Salad. Mix baby spinach with fresh sliced strawberries and Blue cheese chunks. Add toasted pecans or pine nuts for some crunch and serve with a Blue cheese dressing or a strawberry infused balsamic vinaigrette.
Perfect for brunch served with a quiche or frittata to lighten the meal.
Caesar Salad. Mix romaine with red onion slices, and shaved Parmesan cheese. Add crispy croutons (homemade are best) and serve with Caesar Dressing.
Goes well with Italian style meals.
Garden Italian (Mock Olive Garden Salad). Mix romaine and other salad greens with purple onion slices, black olives, Peppercinis, shaved Parmesan, and serve with a good homemade zesty Italian dressing.
Perfect with Italian style meals (and don’t forget the breadsticks!)
Iceberg Wedge Salad. I know… kale and other dark greens are so popular right now and rightly so. They’re good and healthy for us, but there’s just something so refreshing about chopping a wedge off a good crisp iceberg and serving with a good blue cheese dressing drizzled over the top. Add other goodies if you like – a step a way from healthy every once in awhile will satisfy your taste buds. Add shredded cheddar cheese and crisp bacon pieces.
Good served with steaks and a baked potato (we’re talking old classics!)
Chicken Barbecue Ranch Salad. Mix your favorite greens with green onions, celery slices, chopped tomato, shredded cheddar cheese and top with barbecue slathered chopped chicken and serve with a blue cheese dressing or ranch style dressing.
Nice to serve as a meal in and of itself but try adding garlic toast or corn muffins for a nice touch.
Today’s Lunch Salad (pictured). I took baby spinach, iceberg lettuce and added walnuts, English cucumber slices, chopped apples, dried cranberries and served with a good blue cheese dressing.
I enjoyed it with a French bread spread with real no-salt butter. Don’t forget, lunch alone, go with a paper plate for easy clean up! 😉
Salads can be as fun and deep as you like or pretty much just lettuce (you know, like the dinner salads you’re served at most restaurants)… LOL Sometimes raiding the fridge you can come up with some pretty yummy concoctions. Here is a mixture of things you can add to “dress up” your salad!
- Vegetables: radishes, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, corn, fresh peas shelled from the garden, chili peppers, tomatoes (all varieties).
- Legumes: garbanzo beans, brown rice, leftover pasta.
- Nuts: toasted, raw, candied, or salted walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts
- Cheeses: shredded or shaved Parmesan, feta, blue cheese, cheddar, goat cheese etc.
- Fruits: apples, oranges, pears, pomegranate seeds, avocado etc.
- Dried fruits: cranberries, raisins, mixed fruits etc.
- Meats etc: chicken, deli meats, pork, steak, shrimp, scallops etc.
Speaking of dressings we make almost all our own salad dressings. We have a variety of infused olive oils and vinegars that I could practically have a different tasting salad every day. And its fun to experiment when you have a variety of goodies to choose from. About the only dressing I buy is blue cheese. I make my own but I do appreciate the convenience and quality of the blue cheese dressing we buy. It’s called Lighthouse blue cheese dressing and a little more expensive than the others but so worth it. And as you can see by the customer reviews – it gets a customer 5 star rating across the board!