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How to build the perfect salad

Kitchen Tips & Tricks

Salad 1 - The Artisan Food Trail

Long gone are the days of a boring salad. We grew up in the 1970s and a salad consisted of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, maybe some spring onions, or a radish or two or maybe grated carrot. It was invariably accompanied by a blob of salad cream. The salad was always an aside to ham or boiled eggs or perhaps some cheese, but it was never the star of the show.

How things have changed, now we’ve grown up and can cook for ourselves. The salad has become an exciting meal in itself and a time to experiment with flavours and textures.

We’ve spent some time analysing what makes a salad great and have broken it down into building blocks to set you up with texture and flavour foundations on which to create your masterpiece.

Of course there are so many things you can add to your salad and below are some starting points.

The building blocks of a salad

Green Leaves - The Artisan Food Trail

Get the green stuff

A salad doesn’t just need to be lettuce try other leaves such as spinach, kale, shredded cabbage, watercress, rocket. Of course you can add your favourite type of lettuce, or go with a mixture.

Crunch colour - The Artisan Food Trail

Make it crunchy & colourful

The most interesting salads have a variety of textures, so prepare your vegetables in different ways. Chop cucumber, slice onions, grate carrots and always cut cherry tomatoes in half as this makes it easier to spike with a fork.

protein - The Artisan Food Trail

Pop in some protein

For something meaty, think roast chicken, turkey, ham, bacon, or pulled pork. You could also opt for some charcuterie such as salami or chorizo. For fish lovers there’s mackerel, tuna prawns and smoked salmon. For vegetarians, boiled eggs, crumbled feta, or some torn mozzarella. Vegans can opt for tofu or falafels.

substance - The Artisan Food Trail

Bulk it out

To make a salad more substantial and satisfying add ingredients like lentils, beans, peas, potatoes, pasta, couscous, quinoa, croutons, pearl barley, bulghur wheat, or spelt grains.

interest - The Artisan Food Trail

Make it more interesting

More unusual extras like avocado, toasted nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled gherkins or sauerkraut can make a good salad great. While fresh herbs add freshness.

balance - The Artisan Food Trail

Be balanced

Match crunchy with soft, acid with fat and spicy with creamy.

dressing - The Artisan Food Trail

Dress it up

Not only is it cheaper and healthier to make your own dressing but it’ll taste better too.
Follow our tips for a great salad dressing.

mix - The Artisan Food Trail

Time to toss

After going to all the effort to build your salad, don’t spoil everything by just dumping the dressing on top. Gently yet thoroughly, toss your salad making sure all the ingredients are evenly coated for a dish that tastes amazing with every bite.

If you’re looking for something special to add to your salad, here are some producers to try

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