Three Simple Ways to Make Better Salads

Be a better cook by adding crispy, crunchy, and creamy textures to your bowl of greens.

Three Simple Ways To Improve Your Next Salad

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If you follow any food creator on TikTok, you’ve undoubtedly come across a video starting with “This is the salad I eat every day,” followed by a video of a bowl filled with an abundance of beautiful colors and textures. The inclusion of diverse ingredients isn’t just for the cameras; the best salads are full of contrasting textures. Whether you’re seeking a daily salad — something you can eat on the regular that you won’t ever get tired of — or simply want to make better salads at home, thinking about texture is key to keeping every bite interesting. 

One of the easiest ways to upgrade your salad’s texture is to focus on the 3 C’s: Crunchy, Crispy, and Creamy. 

Go for a big crunch

Adding crunchy textures from nuts such as toasted hazelnutscashew halves, walnuts, and almonds gives your salad an additional heartiness and imparts a lot of flavor to a salad. (If you’re feeling ambitious, a homemade pecan dukkah, inspired by the traditional Egyptian and Middle Eastern blend, delivers a combination for textural harmony of nuts, seeds, and spices.) For those with nut allergies, roasted pumpkin seeds or toasted sesame seeds are also a great introduction to crunch time. Vegetables are another way to add crunch, especially shredded cabbage or chopped or sliced celery.  Finally, we can’t leave the topic of adding crunch to salads without talking about croutons. In addition to the classic cube-shaped crouton of Caesar salad fame,  croutons can deliver crunch in a range in sizes and shapes from oblong garlic croutons to crumbly, craggy, blue cheese-seasoned breadcrumbs.

Add some crispy texture 

Crispy? Isn’t that the same as crunchy? Nope! Crispy ingredients have a thinner texture that easily shatter — think about the quickly yielding crispiness of a potato chip versus the solid crunch of a toasted almond. Speaking of chips, they’re fair game for salad add-ins — just choose pita chips or tortilla chips or strips, which are sturdy enough to keep their crispness when incorporated into a salad. Other great crispy elements that shine in salads include apples (thinly sliced or cut into matchsticks), strips of deep-fried okra, fried onions or shallots (store-bought or homemade), fried quinoa, and wok-crisped rice

Luxuriate in something creamy 

A creamy dressing is one sure-fire way to add an indulgent mouthfeel from your salad, but don’t overlook the pleasingly soft and luscious texture that ingredients like ripe avocados bring to a good salad. Different types of soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella, soft burrata, goat cheese, and tangy feta provide richness and extra depth to salads that are filled with greens but also pair well with pasta, rice, and grain salads. And if you want to create a one-two punch of creamy and crispy, you can even fry the cheese before adding it to the salad. (Just make sure you’re choosing a cheese that won’t melt when it’s fried, such as haloumi cheese or queso de freir). For a dairy-free crispy-creamy salad add-in, try pan-fried tofu.

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