Southern gardens yield all manner of summertime treats that enhance the flavor and freshness of the food on the family dinner table.
Juicy vegetables can really jazz up any dish they go into, but a dinner salad is one of our favorite ways to use them.
Many eaters think salads are calorie traps that accompany a meal, and they can be. But a dinner salad as a meal, with a few careful choices to control the dangers, can be a tasty and healthy option, especially in the summer when you more likely have access to fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, radishes and other ingredients.
And the best part is that you don’t have to stick to just veggies to make a nutrition-rich and satisfying dinner salad. Here are five tips to make it happen!
1. Use the freshest veggies you can. Locally grown from a farmers market or neighbor is great. Your own garden produce is even better. Chop each veggie into bite-size pieces for easy eating. For maximum health benefit, your vegetables should comprise the majority of your salad.
2. Grilled chicken makes a great protein, but so does a chopped boiled egg. And you can boil an egg in the time you bake or grill chicken. Just cover your egg(s) in water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Then move the pot off the burner and cover it for about 20-30 minutes. Peel, chop, and add.
3. Make your own croutons with a piece of bread cut into small cubes. Sprinkle with a little garlic salt or sea salt and olive oil, then toast in an oven.
4. Make your own dressing. A 50-cent seasoning packet from the grocery store, a cup of Duke’s mayo and a cup of milk whisked together makes a great homemade ranch more like what you get that tastes freshly made in a restaurant. We also love this simple vinaigrette recipe, for those who like a lighter choice than a cream-based dressing.
5. Don’t completely abandon tasty add-ons like shredded or freshly grated cheese. If you’re eating a side salad as part of a bigger meal you don’t need such calorie and fat carriers. If you’re having a dinner salad as a meal, a little cheese goes a long way to enjoying it more so you don’t reach for snacks to supplement your diet later and satisfy your cravings.
What are your tips for making a great salad? Let us know in the comments, or find us @FoodieScore on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.