As the world moves toward healthier eating choices, salads have become increasingly popular. In fact, salads have now moved up the ranks to become a main dish in many restaurants.
Here are some simple tips and tricks you can use to create salads that are more interesting and flavourful than ever.
1. Include an unusual ingredient
Adding exotic items that diners don't normally expect to see in a salad is a simple yet effective way to make your salads instantly more appealing. Some examples include replacing croutons with fried wanton skins – a unique twist that’s interesting enough to rouse curious diners into giving the innovative dish a try.
2. Add fruit
Fresh fruit adds a sweet touch to your salads and is a natural complement to other ingredients in the mix. The boost of colours in the salads is also a great way to enhance its visual appeal.
Some restaurants are already incorporating bananas, pineapples, raspberries and strawberries in their salads. With a little thought and creativity, you’ll find that almost every fruit can be worked into your salads.
One fun way to add fruit to your salads is to create themed mixes that use fruit sharing some common traits – such as a “Tropical Paradise” salad that’s full of tropical fruit like mangoes and papayas.
For some fruity recipe inspiration, try this Summer Fruit Salad with Pesto Ginger Dressing!
3. Salt and drain cucumbers
The cucumber is a popular mainstay of salads, providing a satisfying crunch to your greens. But do take note – cucumbers retain a lot of water, so use them intelligently or risk having soggy salads after leaving them on diners’ tables for a few minutes too long.
A neat trick to avoiding this is to salt and drain cucumbers before adding them into your dish. You can do so by slicing the cucumbers and putting them into a bowl, sprinkling some salt, then placing the bowl into a refrigerator overnight and… Voila! Your cucumber slices are ready to take centre stage.
4. Create edible bowls
What you serve your salad in can be just as important as what you serve in it. Some chefs have begun to cheekily use edible bowls as part of their salads, and diners have taken notice. There are a variety of ways to create an edible bowl, with the most popular version using pita bread.
Serving your salads in a whole grain pita bread shell is a creative way to showcase your salads as a star “main course” meal. To add a twist to this idea, try experimenting using popiah skins and other local foods!
5. Add nuts or seeds
Many vegans and vegetarians eat nuts and seeds to get their daily source of protein. However, few restaurants take this nutritious ingredient into consideration when planning their salads.
Stand out from the crowd by going nuts with your greens! Cashews, walnuts, peanuts and sunflower seeds are fantastic sources of protein, and these versatile ingredients go incredibly well with all salads.
As you’ve seen, it’s pretty easy to transform regular salads into dazzling main course delights or incredibly appetising starters. All it takes is a dash of inspiration, some creativity, a couple of interesting ingredients and perhaps an innovative new way of presenting your salads.
Take a look at our Related Recipes section to get some inspiration for delicious new salads!