The Art of a Perfect Salad

preparing salad tips

Salads get a bad rap for no good reason.   A well-prepared salad can be a suitable entrée for men and women alike.  I can eat steak with the biggest of men—but it’s the art of the perfect salad that really gets me going.  Salad’s are great because they are easy to prepare, and take very minimal time to toss together. Here are a few of my tips for creating a salads that you’ll love to eat:

Fresh Greens

Try to stay away from wilted greens.  When buying lettuces, try and find the ones that have no signs of browning spoilage or slime.  If you’re buying pre-packaged lettuce, try some with variety.  If you are buying straight produce, grab some varying leaves off the salad bar.


Dressing is the finishing touch on a salad.  It’s simple to make your own dressing at home—just use oil, a acid (such as balsamic or wine vinegars), and an element of sweet such as maple syrup, honey, or jam.  Add a little bit of mustard if you like.  Use a 1 to 1 mixture of oil and acid, then add the other elements to taste.  Use a little salt, pepper, and herbs/spices to make it your own!

Texture & Flavor Variation

The textures of salads are what really make it great.  Vary the textures in your salads by adding nuts for crunch or goat cheese for a smooth texture.  Fruit adds a sweet element and another contrast of mouthfeels.  Add boiled egg or crisped Parmesan cheese for yet another texture and flavor kick.

Don’t just stick to the basics of a garden salad.  Get creative with your ingredients. Here are a few winning combinations:

  • Pickled beets (chai pickled are my favorite), garlic goat cheese, and walnuts on arugula
  • Apple slices, steak, asiago, and chopped pistachios on mixed greens
  • Pear, chicken, Parmesan cheese crisped in the oven, hard boiled egg and almonds on romaine
  • Strawberry, candied pecans, gorgonzola cheese on spinach

With the infinite amount of salad combinations, there are bound to be a few that become favorites.  Be creative with your ingredients.  Use a salad entrée dinner as a unique opportunity to clean out your cabinets.

For best results when making any salad, toss all the ingredients (other than the dressing) together in a large bowl.  Add the dressing around the edges of the bowl, then toss again.

What are your favorite salad combinations?