Twitter Thread Shows How We're Eating Salads All Wrong
Let’s talk about salads. It’s hard to feel lukewarm about salads — you either love them or you hate them. But they are very universal. You can have a salad as a side or a full meal. When it comes to making one, the possibilities are endless. Few foods are quite as adaptable as the salad. In spite of this, a lot of people still find salads boring. They lack a certain something that allows them the respect they deserve. Perhaps it’s because people don’t put enough care into their salad-making process. A recent viral Twitter thread really nails the ways we can elevate our salads to the next level.
Twitter user Elan Gale gets pretty real about why people don’t like salads. It’s not because they’re inherently boring as a meal. Really, it’s because people aren’t making an effort. If you want your salad to be delicious, you have to put in the time to make it so. Just throwing some salad dressing on a bed of lettuce and adding a veggie or two does not a salad make.
Gale’s first point is a big one. Many salad ingredients don’t have a lot of flavor on their own. If you’re going to add something like tomatoes or cucumbers, you want to hit them with a little salt or pepper to enhance the flavor. An avocado, which is deliciously bland, needs some citrus. Hit it with a squeeze of lemon juice if you don’t want the flavor overpowered.
While what you put in your salad is important, so is your base. Lettuce is important, people! Iceberg lettuce is the equivalent of giving up. No one who cares about themselves uses iceberg lettuce. If you’re doing the bare minimum, go with romaine. But like Gale points out, you can mix it up. Arugula is a little lemony and peppery. Frisee is nice too. Spinach also makes a great salad base or mix. I can write an entire essay on the virtue of butter lettuce.
Not everyone likes spice. Radishes are more mild than a jalapeno. They add a little peppery kick to spice up your salad. Plus a little crunch! If you’re not a fan of spice, try something pickled. The acidity and vinegar from the brine really does add a little something different to your salad. Same with herbs. You may wonder why you need additional greenery after lettuce, but seriously — try it. Parsely, cilantro, dill, and mint are great ones to start with. Basil or scallion are also excellent additions.
CHEESE. You definitely need some sort of cheese. As Gale points out, shredded mozzarella on a salad is boring and bland. He recommends Feta, which is a good option but maybe a little too salty for some people. Goat cheese would also be a delicious option. Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano add a nutty undertone. If you’re going to use a mozzarella type, use Burrata! It’s creamy and delicious and will soak up all the wonderful flavors.
Gale is right — dressing is an important factor. It’s easy to just drown everything in Ranch dressing and call it a day. But then you’re masking all the beautiful delicious salad flavors. Good olive oil, a nice vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or apple cider are great vinegar options), maybe a squeeze of a bright citrus. A little minced garlic also goes a long way. If you choose to make your own dressing, you need an emulsifier to tie it all together. He suggests horseradish, but again, spice. A nice mustard is always a more broadly appealing option.
One important thing he forgets is texture. Crunchy veggies aren’t enough. You need some good crunch, maybe a little smoothness. Croutons are a safe, albeit boring option. Try nuts like almonds and walnuts or sunflower seeds. Want to up the health factor? Flaxseeds. Add dried cranberries for a little sweetness and chewiness. Maybe use peeled orange or grapefruit segments. Don’t be afraid to add red pepper flakes for a little heat. If you want to add bacon, use real bacon, not that fake shit. Try olives if you want a little saltiness that won’t overwhelm flavor. Lentils, black or kidney beans add some different textures as well.
Salads don’t have to be boring. If you take the time to put a little care into them, you’ll find they’re actually quite delicious. They’re one of the few foods you can experiment with and not have it go completely wrong. It’s all about trying new things and seeing what tastes best for you.
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