Ways to Spice up Your Salads
You know that voice? The one that pops up in your head every so often and says, “I suppose I should probably choose a salad today instead of what I’m actually craving?” Sometimes we listen to that voice, and other times, we’re less responsible. For many of us, the problem comes down to the salad itself. We’re tired of eating the same old salad, and we’re tired of picking through a bowl of dull greens with a few half-hearted croutons thrown on top.
What if there was a way to make the salad itself more exciting? What if we could somehow flip our mindset so that we no longer have a nagging voice in our head that’s guilting us into eating a boring salad when we’re really craving something a little more satisfying? In other words, what if we made our salads so exciting and extra-jazzy that when it came time to think about dinner, the salad becomes something we can’t wait to eat, rather than something we have to guilt ourselves into eating?
Today, we want to help you achieve exactly this. If you’re feeling tired of your ordinary salad recipe, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and ask yourself how you can spice up your salad and make it something you enjoy. While we encourage you to brainstorm your own ideas, here are a few of our favorite solutions to help spark some inspiration of your own.
Put a Fresh Spin on Your Salad
Sometimes, making an exciting salad is about enjoying a whole new recipe with all new ingredients. Other times, it’s much simpler than that. It may be that by adding just one or two fresh twists, you can change the game entirely.
Try a few of these ideas and see if they make the difference you’ve been looking for.
1. Switch up Your Greens
Have you been buying the same standard bag of salad mix for years? Or maybe you’ve just been using basic Romaine or spinach? One of the simplest and easiest ways to make your salad taste completely new is to try swapping out the greens you usually use for something different. After all, there’s a whole world of greens out there to sample. Why just stick to one kind or one mix?
Consider trying some arugula on for size. Or add a little shredded red cabbage to give your salad some color. Napa cabbage, chicory, escarole and kale are just a few more of the many possible types of greens out there for you to try. By trying out a wide range of lettuces, you should end up with at least a few that you enjoy and can rotate through regularly to keep things from getting stale and boring.
2. Play With Texture
When we think of what makes eating enjoyable and exciting, taste is one of the first things that likely comes to mind. Second on that list, however, should be texture. One of the best ways to make a meal more dynamic is to add competing textures throughout the dish. For example, if a food is all smooth and pudding-textured, it quickly becomes tiresome. Similarly, if something is nothing but crunch, this gets tiring.
You can mix up your salads by adding different textures throughout. Add berries for a bit of pop, apples for some crunch, roasted chicken for something chewy and salad dressing to give the leaves a softer texture. When you compose your salad this way, you make it more exciting to eat, and you’ll also likely end up adding a few new flavors into the bargain as well.
3. Try a New Salad Dressing
Have you been buying the same kind of salad dressing for years? Or have you perhaps never enjoyed using salad dressing at all? Both of these are major factors that may contribute to a salad that quickly becomes uninteresting. A whole world of interesting and unique salad dressings are out there, and all of them have the power to transform your salad completely. Even if you were to eat the same salad every day of the week, by adding a different dressing, it would taste quite different every time.
4. Add Color
You may have heard your favorite food blogger or celebrity chef say, “We eat with our eyes first.” In other words, if something looks exciting and delicious, we’re more likely to want to dig in, and we’re also pre-disposed to enjoy it more. We can apply this principle to mean that the prettier you make your salad, the more you’ll want to eat it.
We may think of salads as being typically green, but the wonderful truth is that fruits and vegetables come in a rainbow of colors. By adding as many of these colors as possible, you’re both making your salad more appealing to the eyes and adding in plenty of extra nutrients along the way. So grab some orange peppers, some of your favorite berries, beets, olives and anything else you can think of to brighten up your plate and put a smile on your face.
5. Treat Yourself to Something Sweet
The complaint that many people like to lodge against vegetables is that they’re bland. This is certainly a matter of perspective, as well as the way the vegetables are prepared and dressed, but if you feel this way, then we’ve got the perfect way for you to address this problem. Add a pop of sweetness in the form of some fruit.
Berries are an excellent way to do this, as are oranges, peaches, apples and tangerines. The bold sweetness of these flavors will make a grand splash against the more neutral background of your greens and veggies to make for an overall delicious treat.
6. Experiment With Fresh Herbs
Nothing brings a pop of flavor like fresh herbs do. If you feel your greens have gotten a bit tired and you’re looking for things to put in a salad that will liven the whole dish up, we think you can’t go wrong by adding some sprigs of sage, basil or thyme. Buy these from the grocery store, or try growing them yourself in a garden or in pots on the window sill to add an extra element of satisfaction as you get to enjoy food you’ve grown yourself.
7. Don’t Forget About the Protein
One of the many reasons people may become tired of salads and long to choose something else for dinner is that they feel that salads aren’t filling. They may eat a salad, and just an hour later, they may already feel hungry again.
One of the best things to add to a salad to combat this potentially unsatisfying nature is protein. This protein can take whatever shape you like, whether that’s chicken, tofu or beans. One of the very best ways to add a little protein to your salad is to top it with your choice of spicy or sweet sausage. Salad additions like sausage taste delicious, keep you satisfied for longer, and add an exciting non-vegetable element into the mix that makes for more dimensions throughout the salad.
8. Swap out Your Dressing for Something Different
It’s easy to feel like salad dressing is the only option when it comes to topping off your salad, but this isn’t true. While dressings are a tried and true option that many people love, they aren’t the only choice available to you. If you’re looking to spice things up, why not try skipping the traditional dressing and go for hummus, guacamole or mustard instead? Once you begin to realize the possibilities, you’ll soon realize that you can experiment with a whole world of condiments in your salad.
9. Go for Some Grains
One of the best things to put in your salads is grains. While these might become tiresome if you add them to every single salad, they can be a great way to change up the style of your salads every so often, and there are plenty of benefits to doing so.
Adding grains to your salads makes them more filling, and are a fantastic choice if you find your salads are leaving you hungry just a short while later. Additionally, grains do a terrific job of switching up the texture of your salad while also providing new and exciting tastes. Just a few of the grains you might consider trying in your next salad include quinoa, sorghum and millet.
10. Feel Free to Add a Little Fat
Many of us are hardwired to believe that salads are strictly health-foods. Because of their healthy nature, adding a bit of fat might seem counterintuitive — like we’re spoiling the purpose of a salad. But adding a little bit of healthy fat to your salad can be a good thing. These fats will help you feel full longer and can also add extra textures and tastes to your salad. Just a few examples of fats that make excellent salad item ideas include dressings, avocados and nuts.
11. Add a Touch of Something Smoky
Nothing shakes up a salad like adding something unexpectedly smoky into the mix. This often adds an entirely new dimension to the blend of flavors already included in a salad and can elevate a boring everyday salad to something that will make you want to go back for seconds.
You can add this smoky texture and flavor with plenty of different ingredients. Smoked almonds are one idea, and smoked cheese like Gouda or mozzarella is another. You can also head right to the spice cabinet and sprinkle some smoked paprika on top of your dressing for a salad experience that really brings the flavor.
12. Try a New Recipe
There are days when all it takes to make your salad exciting is a few new ingredients. Other days, however, you need to start from scratch and build a better salad, one that feels like a totally different dish from the greens you’re used to eating. If you’re looking for a recipe that reminds you just how delicious and inventive salads can be, then we’ve got a few ideas for you to try. Whip up these recipes for dinner, and we don’t think you’ll ever be bored with your salads again.
Grilled Sausage & Asparagus Salad with Feta
This Grilled Sausage & Asparagus Salad with Feta is bursting with flavor thanks to its tantalizing array of fruits and veggies. It also features an easy homemade dressing that takes the salad to another level. Here’s how you’ll make it:
- Begin by preheating your grill. Take one pound of asparagus, drizzle them with olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus using high heat until they’re tender, which should take about five minutes. Once the asparagus has cooled, trim the stalks into one-inch pieces.
- Lower your grill to a medium flame to grill half a package of Premio Sweet Italian Sausage until they’re golden brown or about 25 minutes. Once they’re fully cooked, trim the links into thin slices.
- Add five cups of your preferred mixed salad greens to a large bowl along with the grilled asparagus and sausage, one cup halved cherry tomatoes and one tablespoon sliced almonds. Top the salad with croutons and feta cheese.
- Mix up the dressing by whisking together two tablespoons lemon juice, one and a half tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, one teaspoon red wine vinegar, two minced cloves of garlic, half a teaspoon Dijon mustard, half a teaspoon dried basil and pinches of salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, serve and enjoy!
Premio Sausage & Chickpea Salad
For those who like a bit of spice and bite to their food, we present this Premio Sausage & Chickpea Salad. Enjoy it as your main course, or serve it as a side dish with a different entrée.
- Cook half a package of Premio Hot Italian Sausage according to the directions on the package. Once the sausage is cooked, drain the fat and trim the sausage into quarter-inch pieces before letting them cool.
- Add four cups of your favorite mixed salad greens to a large bowl and add the sausage, a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, two cups of halved cherry tomatoes, one sliced cucumber, one grated carrot, half a diced red onion and a quarter cup chopped pecans. Toss the salad to combine the ingredients and top the whole thing with parmesan cheese.
- To make the dressing, whisk together a quarter cup olive oil, two tablespoons white wine vinegar, three tablespoons mayonnaise, two tablespoons sugar, one tablespoon lemon juice, one tablespoon parmesan cheese and pinches of garlic powder, dried basil and oregano.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, serve and enjoy!
Visit Your Closest Premio Distributor Today
With tips and recipes like these, we think it’s safe to say that you’ll have enough salad ideas to keep you enjoying your healthy meals for years to come. But it’s hard to whip up these tasty recipes without the most crucial ingredient — Premio sausage. Stock your shelves with all the sausage you’ll need to keep your salads fresh and exciting by using our handy store locator to find the Premio distributor closest to you. And as a special gift from us to you, enjoy a bonus coupon and save on your purchase of Premio products the next time you shop.