‘Tis the Season for Salad and there’s nothing I find more satisfying after a day of working outside than a nice, refreshing salad. I’m located far north during the summer and due to the extended winter (major snow storm in May), as well as an onslaught of rain and cool weather, the growing season has yet to begin for most fruits and veggies. However, the salad gardens right now have quite an assortment of lettuces available. I like to pick lettuce when the leaves are small and I also enjoy a variety of types in my salad. I thought I’d share some of the ways I like to spruce up my lettuce.
Not everyone likes to add lots of goodies to their lettuce. Sometimes a few croutons, some sunflower seeds, or a drizzle of salad dressing is all that is desired. If I’m going to skip all the toppings and just go for some dressing, I prefer to mix up some balsamic vinaigrette. In a single bowl, whisk together a half cup olive oil, a half cup balsamic vinegar, a clove of crushed garlic, a tsp of ground mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.
When I say “sweet” I’m not referring to hot fudge sundae sauce or caramel. I mean more of a natural sweet, such as berries. Fresh berries and nuts make an excellent combination too. You can mix strawberries and pecans, raspberries and walnuts, blueberries and almonds, or even mandarin oranges and peanuts. If you need an even sweeter flavor for the top, try adding poppy seed dressing. For the dressing, combine 3 T apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup honey, a tsp of mustard powder, a tsp of lemon juice, 2 T poppy seeds, a half cup sunflower oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the mix well or shake it up in a jar and enjoy.
For more of a meal, you might decide to add some toppings that are a bit more substantial. Southwestern salads are tasty and include items like black or pinto beans, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and salsa on top. I prefer to go for a Cobb Salad, if I have a choice. Typically, Cobb Salad includes turkey or chicken, bacon, avocado, cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs, and a vinaigrette dressing or just some blue cheese crumbled over the top. I like to toss in a little bit of purple onion on mine. Thank you, Bob Cobb, for your wonderful invention in 1937!
Try Something New
The great thing about lettuce is that you can add just about anything to it (even chickweed makes a good salad!) and it’s a great snack or meal any time of day. The ancient Greeks and Romans have been eating salads for centuries. It took the US until around the 19th century to decide salads were a popular item and you can get a salad in most restaurants. Some countries prefer to serve their salads at the end of a meal, instead at the beginning like many US restaurants do. Serving salad last is supposed to cleanse the palate for dessert. Makes sense to me!
What are your favorite salad toppings?
More Great Salad Recipes to Try
- Nasturtium & Beet Salad – Lil’ Suburban Homestead
- Kale and Bacon Salad – schneiderpeeps.com
- Colorful Winter Tossed Salad – Untrained Housewife