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How to Make the Perfect, Fresh Salad

Updated on January 2, 2012

Salads are a staple for those eating healthy or on a diet. I’ve been filling up with salad for some time now to reach my own diet goals but I’ve also found that taking the time to cook is equally rewarding.

Rather than going out to buy a bag of salad mix and loading it up with dressing – let’s take a look into how you can make your own perfect, fresh salad (that’s even a bit cheaper than what you’re already paying).

Step 1: The Salad Base

The base of most salads is the greens.

For the most part, you’re probably looking at iceburg or romaine lettuce (both are excellent for our salad).

For about $1 - $3, you can purchase a nice head of lettuce at your local supermarket or find it even cheaper at a farmer’s market within your area (highly recommended).

Cutting the lettuce will be entirely up to you but for the majority of us out there – we want it in bite sized chunks like we’re used to having.

View the video (on the right) on how to slice your lettuce.

Once your lettuce is sliced up, it’s time to add a bit to it …

Step 2: Adding Extras

The best salads are one’s that aren’t overloaded. It really comes down to using fresh vegetables and not going overboard with the extras.

To keep things simple, I recommend you add no more than a few extras such as some diced tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and/or a bit of cheese.

Grab a sharp knife, cutting board and a fresh tomato and begin dicing it into small chunks or however you prefer.

View the video on the right for an example.

With the tomato out of the way, slice up other extras such as cucumbers or shave off some strips of carrots which will go nicely with your fresh salad.

Step 3: A Basic Dressing

Like the ingredients, don’t bog down your salad with dressing otherwise you miss out on a lot of the fresh flavors of the greens and veggies.

Additionally, too much dressing will basically nullify the healthiness of the meal which is against the point (for those dieting).

If you want something fresh, from scratch and cheap (but delicious) than I recommend a basic vinaigrette.

You probably have most of the ingredients in your house already but just in case: it’s olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Here’s a great video on creating vinaigrette and dressing your salad (on the right).

Like in the video, have your dressing at the bottom so you can easily mix it around rather than pouring it all over the top which will often prevent many of your greens from getting dressed.

Optional: Protein

Those of us that can’t live without protein can still get an excellent meal out of this salad by adding a few extra items.

Here are a few protein-rich ingredients you could add:

  • Chicken strips
  • Tuna fish
  • Almonds
  • Bacon bits

Personally, I love a few chicken strips with my salad because I’m also doing some weight lifting; otherwise, skip out on the extras for now and go with the greens.

Conclusion: Eat!

For about $5, you can create your own perfect, fresh salad from home. You’re improving your cooking skills, creating a healthy dish and saving a bit of money at the same time.

It may not be much but being able to make your own salad will definitely impress others especially when they’re blown away with that fresh taste and not the store bought stuff.

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