During the Summer cool, easy salads are calling out to be a full meal. They promise to get us out of the kitchen quick, keep our figures in shape and keep the heat out of the kitchen, all while making a satisfying meal.
Why is it they often leave us foraging in the kitchen an hour or two after dinner? That “I just had a full meal” feeling is missing. Now we’re going to get it back.
For a salad to be a meal it needs more than just some grilled chicken on it. It needs a variety of textures, flavors and colors. But mostly textures.
Here’s how to do it:
Add at least three of these textures to your salad.
- Crispy: greens, cucumbers, apples, pears
- Crunchy: broccoli, carrots, nuts
- Hearty: whole grains, beans, lentils, shellfish, fish, chicken, meat
- Juicy: tomatoes, grapes, citrus fruits
- Chewy: dried cranberries, sun-dried tomatoes
- Creamy: avocado, cheese, beans like cannellini
One of the most important textures is creamy. This is often what takes a salad from ho-hum to truly satisfying.
Think about the great meal salads: Nicois with hearty tuna, creamy potatoes and hard boiled eggs, crispy green beans and juicy tomatoes. Taco salad, with hearty beans and meat, creamy avocado, crispy red onions and corn, and juicy tomatoes.
To take a Greek salad from a side to a main dish, add plenty of feta (creamy) and something hearty like shrimp or beans. Add a little whole-wheat pita on the side and some fruit for dessert and you have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes, and your kitchen stays cool. Or take the popular side salad with goat cheese, nuts and dried cranberries, add a something crunchy/crispy like apples or pears, and a hearty element like beans or chicken, and there you go.
You can do this with any flavor combination you like. Turn Thai noodle salad into a main dish by adding some crunchy, crispy, and juicy textures to the hearty noodles and creamy sauce. Soon you’ll get the hang of it, and your stove will appreciate the vacation.