Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tasty Tuesday ~ You Need Salad!

It's late February and there's no abundance of fresh veggies in my kitchen. How about yours? Is your body craving something picked off the vine, recently crawled over by a lady bug, and bursting with sunshine and morning dew? Or maybe just an alphabet soup of vitamins and minerals? I bought green leaf lettuce last week but have almost let it go to waste since I'm not "thinking very green" right now. I guess I just bought it out of pity since everyone was passing it by, and I was hoping I would be inspired. I'm inspired!

We need SALAD! But it can be hard to get motivated to make a salad when gray is the color of the day instead of green. Here are 10 great ideas to help you get motivated to use what we have on hand and easy access to in winter!

A ~ Assorted greens ... branch out from iceberg and sample other colors and flavors of greens

B ~ Basic pantry items ... mandarin oranges, olives, mushrooms and pineapple come from a can

C ~ Crunchy things ... croutons, of course, but how about nuts (stir fry pine nuts in about 1 T of margarine or olive oil until lightly browned, sprinkle with salt, and it adds SO much to a salad) like pine or pecan or even peanut? Think about bagel chips, pita chips, toast squares, Chinese noodles or tortilla strips.

D ~ Dairy items ... cheeses in cubes or shredded or crumbled (try bleu or feta)

E ~ Eggs ... did you forget about them? Boil an egg and then slice or crumble on top!

F ~ Fruit ... apples are usually available, but dried apple chips are awesome on a salad, as are raisins or fresh grapes, strawberries, or blueberries

G ~ Garnish ... appearance counts for a lot. Use a beautiful dish, splurge on an edible flower, or chop up dried tomatoes over the top = lovely! This is a great time to use a tortilla shell or bowl for a serving dish. It's also a time to let carrots show off a little more, since they are a root vegetable available year 'round. Shred them, cut them in matchsticks, or cut them in rounds.

H ~ Homemade dressings ... this is a great time to make homemade dressing that is SO EASY and more special than a bottled version. Buttermilk ranch, peppercorn Parmesan, or Italian are so easy but make a winter salad take on new life and seem like you waited all year for it!

I ~ Individual plates ... pre-plating salads and arranging the toppings in a pretty design goes a long way to making a salad seem like a treat in the gray days of February. Put each one to the upper left of the dinner plate, and you will feel like you are being served a special seasonal side.

J ~ Just a sprinkle ... of Mrs. Dash, cracked pepper, Herbs d'Provence, or dried parsley will make a simple salad seem like a carefully crafted work of art.

When it's gray outside we need our greens more than ever, so don't forget about salad until summer. You'll be vitamin deprived and fiber starved!!! Toss on some of these great ideas from A-J and enjoy a taste of seasons yet to come. Do you have ideas for something unique to put on your salad?

Participating in Tasty Tuesday and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday today.

4 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Brenda said...

I love salads and can't get enough of them, especially in the summer.

Anonymous said...

I only learned to love salads, this year and now I think they are the greatest.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Had an awesome salad tonight - complete with fresh spinach, iceberg lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts and raisins. My daughter loved it until she got to the raisins - ok, so they were a little old (and hard!), she called them 'little rocks' and proceeded to pick them off her salad! Ha! Ha!

Salads are great!! Next time I'll be sure to use fresh raisins!! :)

Cindy Bultema said...

Julie ~ I always look forward to your Tasty Tuesday posts (have added many new recipes to my collection ~ thanks!). Today's post made me hungry! I love salads ~ and your list of toppings had me ready to stop what I was doing and head to the refrigerator! :)

For my favorite salad...I take lettuce and then layer black beans, corn, fresh salsa, a tiny bit of cheese, and then crushed tortilla chips on top. Lightly drizzle some light ranch dressing over top. Yum!!

Have a BLESSED weekend!!
Cindy :)