Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
Mention “salad” and the first thing that pops into my mind is “The Big Salad” episode from the sitcom “Seinfeld.”
We never see the salad but we believe it must be good because Elaine and George fight so much over it. Bigger doesn’t mean better when it comes to picking ingredients for a garden salad. I like lots of different colors – green is a good base but reds, yellows and purples add flavor and nutrients. Here’s my favorite healthy ingredients for a garden salad.
10. Fresh Greens
An iceberg sank the Titanic and iceberg lettuce sinks healthy salads. Start with big leaf greens like romaine lettuce, red leaf and escarole, making sure you cut away any big stems and tear the big leaves into smaller pieces. Add small greens like arugula, watercress, basil or baby spinach for flavor. Wash gently and dry in a salad spinner.
9. Red and Yellow Peppers
Strips of red and yellow bell peppers add big bright colors while providing taste and a healthy dose of vitamin C. Remove all of the seeds and stringy stuff from the inside before slicing.
8. Green Onion
One or two finely sliced green onions add color and a fresh garden smell without overpowering the salad with onion taste.
7. Red Kidney Beans
A quarter cup of red kidney beans doesn’t turn a garden salad into a bean salad but it does add extra fiber, firmness, color and taste. If you don’t like kidneys, try black beans or shelled edamame (green soybeans).
A couple spoons of fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed) will dot your garden salad with yellow and adds a little sweetness. For a little more crunch, go with baby corn instead.
5. Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Little tomatoes like the cherry or grape varieties are perfect of a garden salad because they add color without adding moisture the way sliced or wedged tomatoes do. A few tomatoes is all it takes to add color, shape and anti-oxidants to your salad.
Nuts add crunch to your garden salad. I like almonds (whole or sliced) because their reddish-brown skin adds color along with fiber, Vitamin E and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. You can also go with hazelnuts, pistachios or pecans.
Fresh cauliflower adds crunch, fiber, cancer-fighting powers and a whiteness to contrast the other colorful garden salad ingredients. For fun, check your market for some of the new varieties of orange, yellow and purple cauliflower – they taste the same but adds a great new color to your bowl.
2. Fresh Dill
I like a sprinkle of chopped fresh dill on top of my salad for a great aroma and herbal taste. A little goes a long way so take care not to overpower the other great tastes in your salad.
1. Oil and Vinegar
Don’t douse that healthy garden salad with bottled dressing – even the low-fat or low-calorie versions negate the benefits and hide the colors you’ve worked so hard to assemble. Sprinkle your quality salad with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a flavor that will enhance instead of overpower your garden salad ingredients.