7 Layers of Building a Colorful Salad
This is the story of a love affair between a committed relationship with my long time partner meat and my occasional secret rendezvous with my lover vegetables.
You see I love meat and when I say meat, I am referring to all his family members beef, pork, chicken, fish seafood aka animal protein. I have been in a committed relationship with meat for as long as I can remember, which means my entire existence. That said, it is only natural that every now and then, I get tempted, after all I am only human.
I find myself craving this vibrant, colorful, refreshing creature known as vegetables, who creeps up in my life and turns things upside down. He leaves me feeling youthful, energetic, light and longing for his next touch. What started out as a casual affair with vegetables has quickly turned into a love that I can no longer deny. I am no longer willing to accept our promiscuous meetings and have decided to come clean to meat.
Now am nobody’s wife yet, but if I were, I would casually explain to you that you do not out of the blue spring something so risqué without knowing if you can control the outcome.
One bright afternoon( now you have to have the atmosphere just right) as I was just about to spring vegetables into our lives and I couldn’t have any melodramatic behaviour from meat. I opted to introduce vegetables to my more calm extended family member chicken because lets face it beef would fume from red to pink to well done and I ain’t about that life. Since chicken is more forgiving and easily adapts to new flavours, it was time for the two to meet and spice things up in the kitchen.
It occurred to me that the best way for the two to meet would be to throw a party after all the weather was just perfect, and who doesn’t enjoy a kiss of the warm sun rays on their skin. I invited other guests like crunchy in the form of crispy chapati, my herbaceous pal parsley and of course creamy dressing, and I don’t have to tell you that salt and pepper don’t miss in any party.
Now because I had invited a number of guests I dint want chicken getting jealous, I cut him up into pieces to delicately break down to him the situation and so I pampered him with some love( salt,black pepper,paprika, pinch of dry thyme). In a hot pan, I heat some oil and sauteed chicken on high heat for about 3 minutes or until well cooked(no pink juices when you pierce the chicken) and set aside.
Vegetables loves to share the spotlight so he brought his friends lettuce and tomatoes
Chapati usually arrives soft and tender but on this particular occasion I had asked him to sunbath as I dealt with the unfolding situation between vegetables and meat. I guess I forgot about him and by the time I came to get him, he was a little tanned. To make the crispy chapati I simply reheated it in a pan with extra oil which made it go hard/crisp, then I broke it into pieces for some crunchy texture.
Now creamy dressing as beautiful and exotic as she sounds, is delicious on your lips but not so much on your hips. So I asked her to dress down to natural yoghurt instead of mayonnaise. I also asked her to come along with mustard who alone is yellow, a little tangy as well as fiery but blended with natural yoghurt, they make the perfect marriage. To spice things up, now and then they invite lemon juice,fresh parsley salt and pepper to play.
Once all the guests had arrived, I introduced them to each other ( mix all ingredients) and dressed them with the creamy dressing and garnished them with parsley.
Warning this is not so much a recipe but more of a guide to spruce up your salads.
That ladies and gentleman is how you layer and bring to life a salad worth confessing your love for.
For my virgin friends who did not understand this foreplay…here is a lame man’s term
- Base: Vegetables
Obviously most salads mainly consist of various types of leafy greens. In Kenya we are mainly used to using iceberg lettuce but I would like to challenge you to use other greens.
- Use soft lettuce, rocket(rucola) which tends to be spicy in taste… spinach, cabbage the list is endless.
- Other than leafy green vegetables, you can make your salads with more starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potato salads
- You can also make warm salads with vegetables like steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots etc.
- more veggies: make your salads pop by adding more vegetables like onions, capsicums, carrots and the likes, you not only add colour but nutrients.
Try adding some crunch to your salad to give them more texture i.e nuts like peanuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts … seeds are also great additions like sunflower seed or pumpkin seeds. This particular salad i used crispy chapati.
Adding FRESH herbs to your salads like dhania, parsley, basil, oregano and mint really elevates the dish and gives a pleasant taste to look forward to. Add them directly to your salads or to your salad dressings.
Once you add some sort of protein to your salads it makes it a complete meal and more filling. Obviously I love adding some animal protein as mentioned in my introduction.
- vinaigrette: if you are having trouble making vinaigrette watch my how to video on how to make a basic vinaigrette as well as how to spruce it up with mustard.
Personally for oils in my vinaigrette, I like to use tasty oils i.e olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, macadamia oil, sunflower and canola oil are also great additions.
- Creamy: If you opt for a creamy salad i would suggest keeping it light and using natural or Greek yoghurt. Then simply build from that with something acidic like vinegar/lemon/lime juice, oil, mustard, herbs and of course always remember to season and taste your dressings.
Never say never try using fruits like mangoes, watermelons, strawberries, apples and you will thank me later. Bacon spinach salad with raspberry dressing recipe
Now you need some sort of fats in your salads. Yes i am aware that if you are using dressings, you can get your fats from there. Also once in a while consider adding cheese like fetta, cheeddar, mozzarella. Other than that another great addition is AVOCADOS. (yes they deserve the capital letters they are that good).
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