Author Topic: Jazz up my salad  (Read 1265 times)

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jmarvellous

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Jazz up my salad
« on: October 05, 2013, 01:36:59 PM »
Bringing a salad to a potluck in a park tomorrow. I don't want it to be too "weird," but right now it's too boring!

I'm not really interested in buying anything else (tight budget, spent lots on vegetables already), but I do have a well-stocked kitchen with most of the basics. Gotta keep it vegetarian and citrus-free thanks to some allergies/preferences in the group.

So far, the salad is:

  • Spinach
  • Campari tomatoes
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Balsamic vinaigrette with honey

What about some kind of homemade crouton? Is there a spice or some trick of presentation that would make it more appetizing?

jpcher

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 01:46:48 PM »
I think it sounds delicious just as is! ;D

Croutons would be good -- cube up some bread the "toast" the cubes in a fry pan with a little bit of butter and some garlic or whatever spices you like. Stir frequently so the cubes don't burn.

What about sunflower seeds or toasted/slivered almonds, walnuts or some other type of nut.

Zizi-K

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 01:48:16 PM »
I was just going to say exactly the same thing as jpcher. Fry the bread with garlic, herbs or parmesan cheese. I love sunflower seeds too, or if you want to do something else, dried cranberries are a nice addition. But honestly, with the addition of croutons, you have a perfectly delicious sounding salad!

mechtilde

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 01:49:07 PM »
Toasted almonds or pine nuts are nice.

As for spices- cilantro, chives or mint all work well but be sparing.
NE England

NyaChan

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 04:48:50 PM »
I like a touch of sumac in some dressings or you could use it on the croutons - not sure how that would taste with the dressing you already have though.

jmarvellous

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 05:08:04 PM »
It is a pretty basic vinaigrette (olive oil and balsamic) with just a touch of sweetness from the honey.

I remembered that we also bought a jar of small manzanilla olives (Spanish green, pimiento-stuffed). Too much/too unpopular?

jedikaiti

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 06:23:13 PM »
Bringing a salad to a potluck in a park tomorrow. I don't want it to be too "weird," but right now it's too boring!

I'm not really interested in buying anything else (tight budget, spent lots on vegetables already), but I do have a well-stocked kitchen with most of the basics. Gotta keep it vegetarian and citrus-free thanks to some allergies/preferences in the group.

So far, the salad is:

  • Spinach
  • Campari tomatoes
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Balsamic vinaigrette with honey

What about some kind of homemade crouton? Is there a spice or some trick of presentation that would make it more appetizing?

I like dried cranberries on any salad, but that's me. :)
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Amara

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 07:00:23 PM »
Slices of bell pepper
Red onion rings or scallions cut on an extreme bias
Capers
Moroccan or Greek olives
Fresh mango (especially if you have salty olives)
Feta cheese
Broccoli florets and/or stems that have been peeled



flickan

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 07:42:06 PM »
If you have butternut squash or pumpkin the roasted seeds are AWESOME for salads and so tasty and easy!

There's a tutorial for first timers here http://theshiksa.com/2012/10/03/all-about-butternut-squash-how-to-peel-seed-slice-and-prepare/

I did my first batch today after roasting a squash.  I seasoned with just olive oil and salt and some cayenne pepper.  They toast really nicely, just what a salad needs!

sweetonsno

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 06:03:17 AM »
Scallions are a great idea. If your people like raw red onions, they can be nice. (Just make sure you get one that's really fresh or it can have a slightly unpleasant odor.)
For a crunch element, how about candied almonds?
Thinly sliced green apples.
Thinly sliced fennel bulb.
Fresh herbs of some sort can be nice if you have them. I like dill and cilantro. (Cilantro makes some people angry. Use with care.) Tarragon plays very well with carrots. I'd stay away from woody herbs like rosemary and sage.

I also suggest adding a bit of something spicy. A splash of hot sauce can be very nice in vinaigrette.

I like wilted salads now and then. You just heat the dressing and pour it over. If you put the mushrooms into the dressing and let it simmer, they cook a bit and get a nice marinated texture.

Grate the carrots, for sure. Partially peel the cucumbers (four strips each of peel and no peel?), then slice. As for putting it together, I think it depends on whether you are plating individually or in a large bowl.

readingchick

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 08:00:08 AM »
How about slivered almonds?

Sophia

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 08:34:24 AM »
Do you have any of the fried onions like you see on green bean casserole?  It makes a pleasant but unexpected crunch. 
Parmesan cheese is also nice. 

that_one_girl

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 08:02:34 PM »
feta cheese is good on any salad with viniagrette
 
purple onion would add a different color.   slightly frying them in the viniagrette would give an interesting texture.

crumbled bacon is also delicious on salad

sweetonsno

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2013, 01:48:04 AM »
Sprouts if you have/can make them!

katycoo

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Re: Jazz up my salad
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2013, 04:14:21 AM »
I'd add feta, roast pumpkin and pine nuts.