It's Not Your Grandma's Salad!

What comes to your mind when you think of salad? If it’s a bowl of chopped iceberg lettuce with a tired slice of tomato on top, you’re missing out on a lot of yum. Salads don’t have to be boring, and they...

What comes to your mind when you think of salad? If it’s a bowl of chopped iceberg lettuce with a tired slice of tomato on top, you’re missing out on a lot of yum. Salads don’t have to be boring, and they aren’t necessarily a boring prequel to the “real” meal, either. Check out some “outside the bowl” alternatives.

Keeping It Simple

Good food doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy. Create a delicious salad by tossing chopped fresh tomatoes, green bell pepper and red onion with a little vinegar-and-sugar dressing. To make the dressing, mix vinegar and water in a 2:1 ratio, adding a little white sugar to taste. For another variation, substitute balsamic or flavored vinegar.

Cucumber Rolls

Mix feta or bleu cheese with cream cheese with your favorite herbs before spreading the blend on long slices of cucumber. Roll the slices up and secure them with a toothpick for a salad that looks like it took a lot more work than it does.

Old-Fashioned Coleslaw

Whip up an old-style boiled coleslaw dressing to pour over chopped cabbage and grated carrots. Mix 2 egg yolks, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup vinegar in a saucepan; boil it all until it gets thick. Allow the dressing to cool before stirring in 1/2 cup cream and mixing it with the vegetables.

Sweet Carrot-Apple Salad

Even the most avid veggie-haters will have a hard time turning down this salad. Combine shredded carrots, a peeled and shredded apple, lemon juice, honey, slivered almonds and salt and pepper. Chill the tossed ingredients before serving.

Celery-Pear Salad

Whisk fruit-flavored vinegar, honey and salt together to dress this vegetable-fruit concoction. Toss celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, diced fresh pears, diced white cheddar cheese, and pecans with the dressing. Serve the fruit salad on plates lined with butterhead lettuce leaves.

Dressed-Up Brussels Sprouts

Toss trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they are tender. While they cook, fry some chopped bacon, adding maple syrup and rosemary to the drippings and cooking it until the mix thickens. Toss the sprouts, dried cranberries, the cooked bacon and toasted hazelnuts with the dressing, then top the salad with grated Romano cheese.

Going Traditional, Modern-Style

If you decide you want a more classic tossed salad, there are some tips to follow to make it awesome. First, make sure you have a variety of vegetables in a lot of different colors. Mix about 2 cups of vegetables for each serving of salad, including things like field greens, ripe red tomatoes, purple cabbage, orange bell peppers and carrots, green and white onions. Change things up by tossing in some sliced or grated Brussels sprouts, chopped baby bok choy and your favorite fresh herbs. Next add some protein: 1/2 cup of plant-based protein like beans or lentils or 3 ounces of lean meat, poultry or seafood. Make your salad filling by including starches like quinoa, roasted corn or boiled red potatoes, before adding a little healthy fat with avocados, nuts, olives or salad dressing made with two parts flavored vinegar to one part extra-virgin olive oil.

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