How to make your best ever salads

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    Asian cucumber salad Easy Food

    Who says salads are always boring? Pay attention to these easy tips and your salads will be interesting and enjoyable every single time.

    Fill with fresh herbs
    Fresh herbs make a real impact on flavour and freshness. Add some for extra oomph or, for something different, try replacing up to half of your greens with soft herbs like basil, coriander or parsley.

    Go beyond greens
    Speaking of which, bear in mind that not all salads need to be based on greens: there’s a world of possibilities out there. Try basing yours on other vegetables, for a change.

    Make your own dressing
    Shop-bought dressings aren’t necessarily healthy – and they’re not particularly interesting, either! Luckily, making your own is a cinch. Some may take more effort, like a homemade Caesar, but even on the busiest day you can combine a little oil and vinegar in a small jar and shake it up.
    A basic vinaigrette has a ration of 1 part acid (try red or white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice or even pickle juice) to 3 parts oil (extra-virgin olive oil is good, but so is cold-pressed rapeseed, avocado or walnut). Pack an extra punch with a touch of mustard, chilli flakes, capers, sweet chilli sauce or anything else that takes your fancy.

    Use varying textures
    Choose salad ingredients that have contrasting textures, such as crisp croutons, creamy cheeses, crunchy vegetables and juicy tomatoes – this way, every bite will be interesting.

    To cook or not to cook
    Roasting, frying, griddling, grilling or barbecuing some of your salad ingredients can add extra layers of flavour.

    Go nuts
    Nuts are often used as a salad topping, but rarely do people think to toast them. Toasting almonds, cashews, walnuts or other nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat boosts their nutty flavour and crunchy texture. Just cool them to room temperature before tossing them in your salad.

    Cheese it
    I mean, everything is better with cheese. Add crumbled blue cheese, Parmesan shavings, cubes of Brie, a sprinkling of Feta, or go the French chevre direction and melt goat’s cheese over toasted baguette slices before popping on top.

    Combine sweet and savoury
    Matching sweet and savoury flavours makes for a more interesting salad. We love adding berries or fruits like apples, pears or pineapple to our salads, while a touch of honey or maple syrup in a vinaigrette is a perfect balance to its acidity.

    Get creative with croutons
    Season them simply with plenty of salt and pepper, or have a little fun and add extra flavours like garlic, grated Parmesan, herbs and/or spices – check out some of our favourites here.

    ‘Tis the season(ing)
    I can’t emphasise this enough: seasoning your salad is just as important as seasoning any other meal. A pinch of salt is the easiest, quickest way to boost the other flavours in your salad bowl.

    Fat means flavour
    In every dish you ever make, always remember that fat equals flavour. (I say that so often that it should probably be written on my tombstone one day.) It helps make salads taste even better as well as helping to keep you fuller for longer. This fat may simply be the healthy oil in your dressing, and/or ingredients like avocado, cheese, toasted nuts, bacon, chorizo or salmon.

    Get dressed
    The best way to distribute dressing evenly is to combine your salad in a large bowl, add half of the dressing and toss everything together. Divide the dressed salad between serving bowls and serve the remaining dressing in a jug so that people can add more if they prefer.