How the heck do I make tasty salads?

I want to (well, more like need to) get into a healthier diet. For me, this is gonna include a lot of salad.

This would include cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, green (possibly leafy as well as non) vegatables, radish, onion etc.

You get the picture.

But I have one MAJOR problem. I really really really dislike the taste(s) of salad. No let me rephrase that slightly. Salads don’t have any taste. They are either really bland, or taste like my cats leftovers.

Actually, things like carrot, cucumber and lettuce are fine with me. Mainly it’s leafy green veg that is nasty.

I had a bowl of mixed veg today, and I added a generous smother of French Vigneratte. Suddenly, some of the green leafy veg (and especially the other stuff) started to taste pretty good. Darn good, actually.

I was thinking that if I could make my salads more tasty in this way (maybe even a variety of different ways) I’d start eating them more often.

So, any ideas on how to make good salad (I’m really open to suggestions)? I prefer to keep it simple, and would much prefer the salad to not involve boiling things (you can take out some of the nutrients that way). But flavour is essential.

Hmmm… you want a healthy diet, but you want to do it via eating something that you flat out state you don’t like. Does not sound promising IMO.

That aside, stop thinking of salads as Lettuce + stuff. There is no law saying that you MUST have lettuce in your salad. In fact, one of my favorite salads includes absolutely no lettuce:

Greek Country Salad

Fresh Yummy Tomatoes
Kalamata Olives
Feta Cheese
Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil

Slice cucumbers and tomatoes. Arrange in layers in a bowl. Top with 5-10 Kalamata Olives and a slab o’ feta cheese. Sprinkle with oregano. Serve with Oil & Vinegar dressing.

Variations: Add sliced bell pepper, sliced red onions, fresh herbs.

Other ideas, in no particular order:

  • I know you said no boiling, but flavor-wise, blanching (ie, lightly boiling) a lot of vegetables greatly improves their taste. Perhaps it’s better to be slightly less nutricious if you’re more apt to eat things because they taste good? Blanch things like green beans and cauliflower immersing them in boiling water, boiling for 30 secs - 1.5 minutes depending on the veggy, then taking them out and immediately plunging into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Add to salads. Yum Yum!

  • Chef’s salads involve a bed of lettuce, whatever veggies you like (I prefer tomatos & cucumbers), a chopped hard boiled egg, and lean deli meat (very good for you - lean protein is your friend) and some cheese if you like. Top with low-cal dressing. Very good and nutritious.

  • I find that Paul Newman’s “Light” salad dressings are the best tasting light dressings I can find. In fact, I can’t really detect the difference between his light Italian and normal Italian.

  • Teach yourself to go light on the dressing, then you can eat non-light dressing on occasion. A lot of people smother their salads in dressing - that stuff is BAD for you! You might as well eat something other than a salad if you have to have 300 calories of dressing (which is not as much as you might think it is - check the back fo the bottle) to make it edible.

  • Fresh lettuce is tastier than old lettuce. If you’re using those pre-cut bags of lettuce, try using whole leaf lettuce and cut it up yourself. You may like it better that way. Invest in a salad spinner - nothing is worse than wet leaves in your salad.

  • Meat or seafood is a great way to dress up a drab salad and add lean protein to your diet. A couple shrimp tossed on top, or lean sliced turkey is great.

That’s about all I can think of now. Good luck!

You can buy different blends of salad greens in bags at the supermarket, to try new things and see what you like. Iceberg lettuce is pure roughage with little nutritional value, but you can even get it with shredded carrots and thinly-sliced radishes already mixed in. Of course they have a romaine lettuce blend for Caesar salads, Italian and European mixed greens, and one of my personal favorites, fresh spinach leaves. Try these pre-mixed combos to see what you like best!

A spinach salad with mandarin orange sections and a tangy vinaigrette or Asian-style dressing makes a delicious salad. Having a few different dressings on hand at all times will help your salads taste (and even look) new and different, and they’ll keep you from getting bored. I love the Good Seasons Italian dressings that come in little envelopes, and you shake them up in a glass cruet (provided) with your own oil and vinegar. Add balsamic vinegar, which is yummy, and you’ll love salad from here on out. The vinaigrettes are typically healthier than creamy dressings like ranch and bleu cheese, but don’t buy anything fat-free. Chances are you won’t like the dressing and you’ll just get turned off more to salad. I say buy something that tastes awesome, and just use it sparingly.

Other good salad ingredients: diced or sliced red onion for color, green or red bell peppers, sliced jalapeno peppers if you like spice (easily available from jars in the relish section), shredded low-fat cheese, croutons (my favorites are the Pepperidge Farm ones), diced ham or turkey for a chef salad, diced hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits (preferably not Bac-Os, which are fake and crunchy), anchovies (if you’re into that sort of thing), fake crabmeat (surimi), or a scoop of homemade tuna salad. Have fun! You realize you can base an entire meal around a salad, if you keep things interesting enough.

My favorite salad is:
A selection of spring greens/arugula/etc in the bag
Some almond slivers
Dried cranberries
Small cubes of soft swiss cheese (The Laughing Cow Brand is my fave)
Then a light raspberry vinaigrette.

It’s a great balance of flavors.

What kind of leafy green veg are you using? Try some different ones if you can get them in your supermarket. I never liked salads much until I moved to California and started eating the mixed green salads they have here, instead of the iceberg lettuce you get on the East Coast.

I’ll second the recommendation to include boiled things if you will eat them cooked but won’t eat them raw. You don’t get any nutrients out of something you won’t eat.

Am I just reading the OP wrong or did you just discover that salad isn’t bland if you put salad dressing on it?

My favorite salad has plenty of flavor.

salad greens
chopped bell pepper
frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
chopped green onion (white & green parts)
chopped tomato
can of black beans, rinsed & drained
shredded cheddar-jack cheese
1 or 2 tortillas
cooked chicken breast meat (if you buy the packaged kind at the grocery store, get the southwest flavor)

Cut the tortillas into thin strips and either fry in a teeny bit of olive oil until they’re crispy or else spray them with cooking spray & bake until they’re crispy.

Toss everything together.

For dressing, mix light Ranch dressing and bbq sauce to your taste.

Here’s one I made recently

Salad Ingredients:
Leafy greens-a mix of romaine & mesclun mix
Cut cucumbers
sliced yellow tomato
cherry tomatoes sliced in half
red onion
sliced strawberries
dollops of goat cheese
grilled chicken breast (on top)
Fresh Strawberry Vinaigrette:
1 cup chopped strawberries
2 generous tablespoons red wine vinegar (balsamic also okay)
2 teaspoons sugar
Few squirts honey
ground black pepper

Blend in powerful blender or food processor
Pour dressing over salad.

I add all the additional veggies like peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes for nutrition. I think in it’s classic form, most places just have it with the leaves, strawberries, goat cheese, chicken, onion and walnuts. But it doesn’t taste bad my way either.
there is a book I purchased at Barnes and Noble called Simple Salad ideas for five bucks that might be helpful.

sorry, there should be a quarter cup olive oil in the strawberry vinaigrette.

Dude, you’re in luck, I’m the salad king.

Add any combination of the ingredients listed below I recommend at least 4 ingredients, but you don’t need more, you want the stuff to last. If you feel like living on the edge though, go for more.

Greens (you need these)
Onion (sliced real thin, like the guy cutting the garlic with a razor in Goodfellas)
Red peppers
green peppers
Roasted red peppers
Feta cheese (they also make flavored ones too, like basil feta, garlic feta, etc)
Avocado (salt it too)
Hardboiled egg
Calamata olives

Now the trick is this, go get yourself some of Annes salad dressing, it’s the best shit under the sun. The Godess dressing is the bomb. It’s like the tahini (tanini?) sauce they put on falafels

I’m also a big fan of ginger dressing.

Damn , now I’m hungry.

Let me add my vote to checking out some of those mixed green bagged salads. A lot of em are pretty good. Then add what you like. Cucumber, radishes, tomato, chopped eggs, croutons, bell peppers, olives, cheese, various meats. Try some of those light (lite) salad dressings. If you don’t like em, then go for the regular stuff but go easy on it.

I could go out and find a couple for you, but since I’m feeling lazy I won’t, but check out some of the Caesar Salad recipes. I love me some Caesar Salad.

One of my favorite meals especially in summer is a big ol’ salad topped with grilled chicken or steak. MMMMMMMM…

Good salad hunting my friend.

I find the bags of 3 heads of romaine are the best option if I plan to eat a lot of salad. It will keep pretty close to a week. Spend about $20 and get a salad spinner, Oxo or Zyliss are the top brands. You can wash one or 2 heads of romaine and it will keep even better in the spinner.

I second the vote for Annie’s salad dresssings. I think World Eater meant Annie’s Naturals, since they make both goddess and ginger dressings.

My general rule for salads is lettuce, tomato, and 2 other things. I used to feel I had to include everything I could possibly think of. The truth is, that was overkill and didn’t really add much to the flavor.

One of my favorites is to cut up an eggroll and open a small can of mandarin oranges for an Asian-style salad. Good with ginger or sesame dressing.

I have 4 bottles sitting in my fridge and I can’t remember the name. :smack:

There’s also a seaweed one, or it has kelp or something, that is sooooooo good.

I agree. I usually will do 4 or 5 things, with perhaps a few more, but just a hint.

I gotta try this.

To be honest I’ve discovered salad these past few months. Being able to buy the bags of greens, and Annies dressings have hooked me.

I like to add a bit of meat, some fruit, some cheese, and/or some nuts to my salads, which mainly consist of romaine and red onion. You can mix and match endlessly with that basic formula. Choose from chicken, pork, or fish for the meat; mango, apple, pear, or cranberry for the fruit; pepper jack, colby, feta, bleu, or cheddar cheese; and almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts. Add a light drizzle of a vinaigrette, and you’ve got a wonderful meal. Or leave off the meat and have it as a side dish. I’m personally fond of chicken, cranberries, cheddar and almonds or salmon, mango, bleu, and pine nuts or pork, apples, and colby with no nuts.

Three Steps to a Good Salad:

1.) Take a head of iceberg lettuce from the fridge.
2.) Go out into your backyard and throw the head as far as you can.
3.) Go to the store and buy some decent goddamn lettuce.

I like a mixture of romaine and red leaf if I’m cutting it myself. There are grocery stores very near my house that have such great mesclun and baby lettuce mixes, though, that I usually go for those.

Another hint is to find just the right amount of dressing. The leaves should just glisten, and there shouldn’t be dressing pooled in the bottom of the bowl. There isn’t a better tool for doing this than a clean set of hands–you can learn to get it right by feel.

Actually toss the salad. By that I mean put the dressing on and then toss the salad so that the dressing is on the veggies. It improves the taste and you don’t need to use as much.

Oh, and I agree with DoctorJ’s advice on the iceburg lettuce. :smiley:

Yea, I am going to hell, bla bla bla but this is the GREATEST salad ever:

Take bacon bits, as many different types of cheeses as you can find, croutons, and a dressing (perferably ranch) and shake it together untill it is nice and moist from the dressing. Eat with a fork and enjoy!

Mmmmmmm… salads!!

My recipe:

Mixed leaf/herb salad
baby carrots
baby beetroots
cherry tomatoes
black olives
sundried tomatoes
chopped chives
sweetocrn chunks (of the “no sugar added” variety)
red pepper

…and some lo-cal tomato and basil, sweetfire pepper (LOVELY on the baby carrots!) or honey and mustard dressing


Get your lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots out of the fridge.

Now, you should be able to find the steak.

Put the steak on a grill for about 5 minutes per side.

While the steak is cooking, return the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots to the fridge.

Voila. Steak salad.

My salads are very popular, even I will eat them! :wink:

1/4 bad of pre-cut lettuce mix, I liked Dole’s “Just Lettuce”
Chicken marinated in sauce of your choice, grilled, cut into bite sized pieces
sliced cucumbers
assorted sweet peppers, any color
bacon bits/salad topping

Thats it! Use the right dressing and its as good or better than any store bought salad. One thing to be sure of, everything must be as fresh as possible. Old salad is plain nasty.