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How to Build a Salad Like a Boss

How to Build a Salad Like a Boss

The basics for a crave-able salad according to Dole’s Registered Dietitian

In my opinion, every salad needs an “IT” factor.  Something to make you think – SALAD – before all other meal options.  Whether it’s topped with crunchy quinoa or seasoned chickpeas, silky tofu or tangy dressing, there has to be something that puts it over the edge.  Even packaged salads can have that “IT” factor.  One example is Dole’s Spinach Miso Salad kit.  Its combination of deep greens with semi-sweet and savory miso dressing with crunchy strips of crispy wontons hits the spot every time.  Your homemade salads can have this allure too.   

A basic entrée salad has four components, similar to other meals that use the “MyPlate” method. 

First, start with freshly washed greens.  Go with butter lettuce for a hint of sweetness.  Experiment with arugula for a peppery bite, or stick with classic Romaine for a refreshing crunch.  Whichever you choose, combine your salad base with other cooked or raw vegetables to fill 1/3-1/2 of your plate with veggies. 

Next, choose your dressing!  Fats in salad dressing help the body absorb and use fat-soluble vitamins found in vegetables.  A few cheese crumbles, avocado, or walnuts are other good alternatives as well. Watch out not to over dress.

For an entrée salad, include protein to give your salad staying power.  Whether it’s shrimp or chicken or any of your favorite proteins, use at least four ounces to keep you satisfied.  Eggs or beans are a great alternative here too – chickpeas are my favorite. 

Last, add your carbs.  While vegetables in the base do contribute carbohydrates, they are minimal and very low calorie.  Consider adding a scoop of rice, quinoa, or couscous, even a portion of fruit can make your salad interesting.   If not, a hunk of crusty bread will do the trick.

Now that you know your base components, here comes the fun part.  Play with flavors and textures to create a balance between sweet and savory, crunchy and smooth, tangy and spicy. 

·       Unique dressing – go creamy garlicky Caesar or fresh lemony herb vinaigrette, the options are endless and they can play savory or sweet.

·       Add crunch – from frisée salad greens to crispy noodles, air fried quinoa or baked croutons, a great crunch in your bowl certainly keeps you going back for more. 

·       Creamy consistencies – get it from hummus, or cooked eggplant, baked squash or even a sunny side up egg! Whatever you choose, be sure your lettuce and crunch factor can stand up to it!  Use sparingly.

·       Savory satisfaction – Protein is great for this, think anchovies, hard-boiled egg, steamed shrimp or broiled tofu.

·       Sweet – fresh or dried fruit even sweet potato can offer a hint of sweetness to keep your bowl interesting! 

And what keeps it more interesting than a cobb salad?  Chopped add-ins make it easy to toss, and fun to eat. Our Summer Cobb starts with DOLE® Chopped Avocado Ranch Salad Kit™ and is great for meal prepping or satisfying a hungry crowd.  What could be easier?!

Published May 1, 2022

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