Mix up a new kind of salad this National Salad Month

Salad comes in all shapes, sizes, color and textures, but we’re going to share a few of our favorites and how to make them both healthy and delicious!

Varieties in salads can date all the way back to the Roman Empire. As the Romans expanded their empire they took with them the salad. As they reached new regions with different types of lettuce and dressings available to them, what constituted a salad varied greatly. Here are a few of our favorite salad variations; many of which can be mixed and matched to make your own unique creations:

1. Warm Salad

This warm salad isn’t a far cry from the traditional salad American’s know and love. It typically consists of a leafy base. Try kale, arugula or romaine lettuce and some toasty toppings. Freshly cooked chicken breasts and vegetables make great warm salad toppings and give your dish a new dimension of flavor. Toasted nuts like pecans also add a little texture to your salad. You can even warm your salad dressing. Try this warm salad with toasted pecan halves, goat cheese and pomegranite seeds. Recipe here from the National Pecan Shellers Association!

2. Potato Salad

Here’s one we all know and love, the potato salad. Cooked potatoes topped with mayonnaise or tangy salad dressing and a mix of vegetables like carrots and peas makes the perfect side for most summer meals. The mayonnaise compliments the cooked vegetables and adds a creamy texture to a delicious combination.

3. Pasta Salad

Like the potato salad, this is not a lettuce based salad. The pasta provides a strong grain base. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines recommends that you get three to four ounces of grains each day, half of which should be whole grains. Pasta salads are easy to make too. One of my favorite recipes is pasta with bell pepper chunks, chicken, feta, chickpeas, basil and Italian dressing. You can find the recipe here from the National Pasta Association!

4. Grain Salad

The grain salad is a newer trend in America, but one that looks like it is here to stay. These salads use grains like quinoa, freekeh, spelt and faro as the salad base as opposed to using the traditional leafy green vegetables. While this causes you to miss out on some of the benefits of vegetables, you gain the benefit of more protein. One way you can get the most out of your grain salad is to combine both leafy greens and grains. You’ll get the benefits from your vegetables along with the extra protein from the grains!

5. Breakfast Salad

One of the most unique salads we have on this list is the breakfast salad. This is another take on the traditional green salad. Adding things like poached or sunny side up eggs and avocados not only helps you start your day on a high note, providing you with more energy, but it also helps you to absorb all of the available nutrients in leafy greens in the same way that salad dressings do.

6. Salad on-the-go

This salad is more of a style of salad. Essentially, it’s just how you arrange it and is geared towards the on-the-go person.  The idea behind this is to separate the wet and dry ingredients. The first thing you’re going to want to put in a Mason jar is the salad dressing. Next, add any wet vegetables you might have like tomatoes followed by foods that are somewhat resistant to the effects of wetness like carrots or bell peppers. Just above this, about in the middle of your jar, you’re going to want to put your lettuce. On top of the lettuce are going to be your toppings like cheese, croutons and bacon bits. Remember to leave a little bit of space at the top of your jar so you have enough room to shake and mix your salad up.

With all of these salads, you can be as creative as you want. You can take a breakfast salad and add some grains or mix a grain salad in a Mason jar on-the-go. The best part about all of these salads is that there’s no wrong way to make them. So go ahead and try them out however you want! National Salad Month is calling you, don’t miss it. 

 

Caitlin Hutchinson

The Association for Dressings & Sauces