Have you ever noticed that restaurant salads have a way of tasting a little more special than the ones you whip up at home? Your toppings always sink to the bottom, the dressing lacks a punch, and the flavor just falls flat.
Well, great salads start with great greens— crispy, fresh leaves that hit the produce shelves just days after picking, not weeks. Luckily, Little Leaf Farms makes it possible for New Englanders to get local, fresh lettuce all year round. They take growing greens as seriously as chefs take assembling salad, so they’re sharing some pro tips to help you create supremely satisfying, craveable salads at home.
Season Your Greens
You wouldn’t roast veggies or cook a steak without seasoning them first, why treat your greens any differently? A liberal seasoning of salt after dressing makes a world of difference in creating a full-flavored salad. Pack a punch and add some texture in the form of a micro crunch by using kosher or flaky sea salt. Don’t stop at salt, choose freshly cracked pepper or seeds to up your greens game.
Making dressing doesn’t have to be complicated and store bought is just not going to cut it. With just 5 minutes and only a handful of ingredients, you can whip up a homemade vinaigrette that’s sure to give your greens a little zing. Not sure where to start? Here is a simple formula and flavor combinations that will lighten and brighten any salad: 2 Parts Fat + 1 Part Acid + Flavor Enhancer
- Tahini (Fat) + Lemon (Acid) + Maple Syrup (Flavor Enhancer)
- Yogurt (Fat) + Avocado (Fat) + Mustard + Herbs (Flavor Enhancers)
- Sesame Oil (Fat) + Lime (Acid) + Miso Paste + Chili + Lime + Sesame Seeds (Flavor Enhancers)
Soggy greens are a surefire way to ruin your relationship with salad. Local greens are fresher, crispier greens, so you won’t need to overdress. Just drizzle and dive on in! Prepping for lunch? Grab a box of greens and toss in your toppings and container of dressing for easy transportation. Once the lunch hour hits, you’re set up for salad success. Dinner? No need to toss, just plate your greens, give them a drizzle and dinner is served.
A Grate-r Salad
Break out the microplane, one of the most underused tools in your kitchen, on your favorite nuts and cheeses to create leaf-clinging flakes of flavor. Use that cheese grater on hard-boiled eggs to prevent them from dropping to the bottom of your bowl. Grating your ingredients can totally transform the composition of your salad by dispersing the flavor of your add-ins, without stealing the show from your greens.
Ready to get started on assembling salads like a pro? Find locally-grown Little Leaf Lettuce near you and follow the Little Leaf Farms Instagram for salad inspo. Their greens will last weeks — not days — giving you plenty of time to experiment.