Tuesday, December 12

How to Make a Single Salad a Thousand Different Ways

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The endless summer salad has just four ingredients:

  1. a leafy green

  2. a fruit

  3. a nut

  4. a cheese

Not only is this combination a winner when it comes to flavor and appearance, it’s also a healthful choice to keep you fit and trim this summer. Fresh leafy greens are a rich source of iron and Vitamin K. Fruit satisfies your craving for sweetness and provides antioxidants. Tasty nuts are chock-full of protein. Finally, cheese balances the sweetness of the fruit and provides calcium.

One mouth-watering combination goes like this:

  • 2 bunches spinach

  • 4 cups sliced raspberries

  • 1 cup crushed walnuts

  • 1 cup blue cheese

Another favorite is mango with macadamia nuts and mild cheddar. Or how about apple with cashews and gouda? As for the greens, you can never go wrong with spinach, but if you crave a crunchier texture try iceberg or greenleaf lettuce. Still more tried-and-tasted variations:

  • Spinach-Strawberry-Walnut-Brie

  • Greenleaf-Almond-Blueberry-Camembert

  • Iceberg-Banana-Peanut-Paneer

How many more can you think of? Which nuts complement papaya, plums or peaches? Which cheeses balance the tartness of pineapples or grapefruit? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Get creative with size. Should strawberries be chopped small or served whole? Do you grind almonds into a fine dust or do you prefer them slivered? Will you cut the Jarlsberg into cubes or strips? There are no right or wrong answers.

For the dressing, keep it simple. Use equal parts oil and vinegar and toss well. Let inspiration come from the salad ingredients; walnuts call for walnut oil, apples for apple vinegar. Avoid thick cheesy dressings—you want to be able to see all the ingredients clearly, not smother them in goop.

The endless summer salad takes just a few minutes to prepare, so you’ll spend more time enjoying your meal than preparing it. For an extra boost of protein and vitamins, sprinkle with chia seeds. If you’re serving guests, you can spiff up the presentation by using plates which match the color of the fruit. However, these salads taste just as scrumptious out of plastic bowls, so don’t reserve them for special occasions only! You can eat an endless summer salad every day until Labor Day without your palate becoming jaded. With so many choices, why not start now?

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