I think the real problem here isn’t the vegetables–it’s not what’s in salad that’s the problem. It’s what’s not. If you’re not a salad lover, I’ll bet it’s because the salads you’ve tried are missing one or more of the ingredients below.
What many people really don’t like is a heap of vegetables with no other complex flavors to balance them. A plate of plain veggies isn’t very exciting when you’re accustomed to processed food, or rich fats and proteins. And a large pile of vegetables without anything else alongside can upset some stomachs. Here are three simple ways to make a salad great.
Despite the bad–and undeserved–rap that salt gets, it’s essential to health. From an evolutionary perspective, salt is also relatively rare in natural foods, and we’ve evolved to love the taste of it. Salt can also suppress bitter tastes, to allow sweet and sour tastes to be more prominent.
In your salad, consider:
- Adding salt to your homemade dressings (regular store-bought dressings tend to have plenty)
- Adding pan-roasted seeds
Like saltiness, we also crave sweetness. There are many natural sources of sweetness that, contrary to what you might think, taste fantastic in salad.
You may want to:
- Add honey or maple syrup to your homemade dressings
- Buy regular, not “sugar-free” or “low-fat” store-bought dressings
- Add berries, fruit, beets, corn or other sweet foods to your salad
A big pile of just vegetables can not only upset some stomachs, but can also leave you unsatisfied. Adding sources of protein can enrich the taste, and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
- Adding cheese–feta, cheddar, or your favoriteAdding nuts and seeds (see above)
- Adding falafel or quinoa. Both are delicious in salads
- Adding leftovers such as chicken, sausage, or hamburger
These three simpler additions can transform the taste and satisfaction of any salad. It’s why most people love Caesar salad, but don’t prefer a chef salad. The Caesar is full of fatty, salty, rich-tasting bacon, dairy and dressing. Now, you can take that same idea, and use it to transform a much more robust, nutritious salad into something you’ll love.
If you’ve never met a salad you’ve liked, it might be time to expand your ingredient list!