Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:44 am
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When you say the word salad, what comes to many people's minds is a bland mix of lettuce, perhaps some cucumber slices and tomatoes. But a salad can be so much more than that, and doesn't even have to include the often limp salad leaves which has lent the dish its name. No, you can make flavorful and hearty salads which are filling and serve as a main meal easily. These salads are really practical because they can either be served hot, room temperature or cold, so they are especially suitable for a buffet or dinner party where you don't want to feel rushed or worry about the food.
There are four components of a hearty salad: the base (carbohydrates), the star (protein), the veggies and the dressing. Then there are of course other possible additions such as cheese, nuts etc...
1. So first off we have the base or carbohydrates. This could be pearled barley, quinoa, pasta, couscous, rice, potatoes, or beets just to mention a few options.
2. Next, determine what kind of protein should be the main star of the dish. This could be lentils, beans or tofu for a vegetarian salad, or chicken, steak or seafood for one containing meat or fish. Bacon is also a great addition and could either be the sole star or a side character.
3. Next pick what vegetables you like. Cooking some of the vegetables so they are the same temperature as the other components, if you're serving the salad warm is definitely a good idea. Here we like asparagus, greens (such as spinach, kale or chard), tomatoes, red onion, brussel sprouts, broccoli etc...
4. And last but not least make the dressing. This could either be an oil based vinaigrette or something more creamy such as a ceasar or ranch. If you're going for the oil based dressing, then we like to make a little extra, and as soon as your grains (or pasta, potatoes etc...) has cooked, pour them into a big bowl containing the dressing. Mix well and cover with foil. Here you could also add cooked vegetables and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to give the whole dish a chance to marinate so the flavors can blend well.