The New Year is always a time when people refocus on their health and that may be especially true after 2020. Salads are a natural meal or side option for people looking to boost their health and consume more nutritious foods. Could your salad options use some innovation in 2021? Elevate your greens and vegetables with a mix of hearty grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, or – now that salad bars are a relic of pre-COVID times – consider making your entrée salads customizable with those items.
Creating a restaurant-quality salad at home isn’t easy: The textures and combinations of flavors can be difficult to replicate, they require a fair share of labor for a home cook to prepare, and they often generate waste in the process. This fall, your salads can help guests not only avoid those frustrations but also feel they are doing their part to protect their health. Raise your salad game with flavorful combinations that can be served as entrées, side dishes, or packaged in kit form for easy, no-waste preparation at home.
Summer picnics are made for pasta salads. Try a creative spin on them by changing up the expected presentation. Consider using large pasta shells stuffed with a mixture of seasoned summer vegetables, turkey and cheese, which can work as a light entrée, starter or side dish.
Texture, crunch and color all elevate the experience of a dish. Add some hearty starch to the mix and you have a recipe for serious satisfaction. A nutrient-dense orzo and wild rice salad can be filled with colorful, fresh vegetables, topped with pomegranate seeds and mixed in a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. The wide range of textures and flavors make for a memorable salad and a colorful addition to a meal.
Salads have come a long way. No one expects a plate of homogeneous greens anymore – salads have evolved to include everything from nuts to herbs to a rainbow of fruits and vegetables prepared in a myriad of ways. And yes, salads can even qualify as comfort food when you include some craveable components (soft pretzels, anyone?). The potential combinations of colors, textures and constructions can inspire chefs and make for Instagram-worthy presentations. What can you dream up?