We have a TON of lettuce planted in our garden. This means I make a salad with almost every meal because as soon as we cut some lettuce, a few days later it has grown back. After making so many salads, I have developed a basic recipe that can be built upon.
A basic salad recipe has a few components:
Lettuce – we have red lettuce and spotted romaine planted right now. You can do a mix with lettuce, spinach, arugula, corn salad (pictured here), and so on
Veggie toppings – my favorite are cucumber, grape tomatoes, red pepper, or snap peas (from my garden!)
Something crunchy – I always add in pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. But you could add croutons, broken up ramen noodles, other nuts, tortilla strips – so many choices!
Something sharp/oniony – Salads really need something sharp and tangy to balance the flavors. To me, this means shallots. This could also be green onions, fresh pressed garlic, purple onion, etc.
Crumbly cheese – my favorite is feta, but you could do blue cheese, goat cheese, queso fresco, etc.
Vinaigrette – oil, vinegar, sweetener, and herbs. I like to do a mix of olive oil, flax seed oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, and yogurt. You can add basil, cilantro, oregano or any fresh herbs that give the dressing a kick! I think the flax seed oil really mellows out the olive oil, so I’ve been using it in all of my dressings. My favorite vinegar is apple cider, unfiltered with the mother still in it. It’s not only delicious, but probiotic as well! You could use white wine, red wine, balsamic, etc. You can even add in some lemon or lime juice for some acidity. For sweeteners, my favorite is honey but you could use brown sugar, maple syrup, agave, and so on. I add yogurt because I love it and it’s also a probiotic.
1 cucumber, peel and diced
Handful and a half of grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 shallot, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flax seed oil
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp plain yogurt
salt and pepper
Add everything for the salad in a bowl. Combine everything for the dressing in a bowl or a mason jar (with the lid). Whisk the ingredients or shake the jar until everything is completely mixed. Taste the dressing and add anything to your liking.
Add the dressing, mix and serve!