Do your salads suck? I truly believe there’s a reason that people hate salad so much, and that’s because people aren’t making them right. Salad really can be enjoyable. It’s all about having the right ingredients, which is why I developed a full proof salad formula that will make the perfect salad every single time.
Before I explain the four elements, you need to start with a bed of salad greens. These really can be anything you want. Arugula, spring mix, spinach, kale, romaine…pick your all-time favorite and add a handful or two to a bowl.
Once you have that, here’s what you are going to need. Ready?
- Something sweet
- Something savory
- Something crunchy
- Something creamy
Seems simple, right? Sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy. Good alliteration, easy to remember. But what in the heck does it mean? Let me show you.
I’m a big fan of the salty-and-sweet combo, so I like to find something to throw in my salad that gives it a touch of sweetness. A few of my favorites include:
I find that the savory portion of the salad always comes from whatever the main “event” is. This usually is the protein, but can look differently depending on what you want. This can be…
- Sliced prosciutto
- Hard-boiled egg
- Roasted squash
- Roasted vegetables
I love a good crunch in my salad, so the crunchy aspect is probably one of the most important elements of my salads. I like to use…
- Roasted pepitas
- Salted nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Roasted chickpeas
- Baked cheese bites
The creaminess brings it all together, in my opinion. And it usually adds some fattiness to your salad, which helps with your fullness overall. You can include…
- Goat cheese
- Shaved parmesan
- Fresh mozzarella
- Shredded cheddar
- Ranch dressing
- Green goddess
- Sliced avocado
And don’t forget the dressing! Here are some of my favorite homemade salad dressings to make.
You get the picture. These were things I just thought of off the top of my head, but don’t feel limited to the list. Because sometimes you’ll find multiple elements colliding in one item! Candied nuts add sweetness and crunch, and roasted chickpeas are crunchy and savory.
As long as you can walk away with your bed of lettuce topped with all four of these elements in some capacity—sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy—you’ll find yourself with a perfect salad every time.
I’ll end this with some salad inspo for you…
For this salad, I have pomegranate seeds (sweet), roasted delicata squash (savory), pecans and pepitas (crunchy), and goat cheese (creamy).
This salad has shredded carrots and cherry tomatoes (sweet), bacon (savory), roasted chickpeas (crunchy), and ranch dressing (creamy).
Chicken Burger Salad
This salad includes roasted bell peppers (sweet), chicken burger (savory), diced cucumber (crunchy), and feta cheese (creamy).
For this one we have pomegranate seeds (sweet and crunchy), chicken (savory), and shaved parmesan (creamy).
And finally, this salad has apples (sweet), chicken (savory), almonds (crunchy), and goat cheese (sweet).