I love salad! I really do. I know I am not alone. In my mind there are two types of green salads. The side salad. This is the salad that is thrown together with whatever can be found at the back of the crisper drawer that isn’t too limp. Iceberg lettuce, a few chopped tomatoes and some shredded cheddar cheese (this recipe is what Aunt Pat calls a “white trash salad.”) A side salad goes with something else.
Then there is the main dish salad. These require a little more love and care. But they can be so delicious! I feel that there is a secret equation for making delicious main dish salads. I’m letting you in on the secret in 3.2.1 GO!
Every salad needs
1. A leafy green (lettuces, spinach, watercresss etc.) and it isn’t a bad idea to combine a couple leafy greens.
2. A contrasting texture (carrots, cabbage, beans, tomatoes)
3. Something with a strong flavor, but use it sparingly (green onion, blue cheese)
4. Something sweet. This can be in the dressing or the salad ingredients (fruit, craisins)
5. Something crispy or crunchy (Croutons, tortilla strips, toasted nuts)
6. If you want to go the extra mile add something creamy. (Avocado, feta cheese, creamy dressing)
Now, of course these aren’t hard and fast rules. Sometimes simple salads are fabulous. But go to any salad restaurant and you will find that their signature salads have at least a few of the above components. One signature salad is Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad. It has a nice flavor and texture. This is an adaptation of a copycat recipe. The components that satisfy the above requirements are:
1. Leafy Green: Romaine lettuce
2. Contrasting Textures: Napa and purple cabbage, shredded carrots
3. Strong Flavor used sparingly: Sliced green onions
4. Something Sweet: Honey in the dressing
5. Something crispy or crunchy: Chow Mein noodles and slivered almonds
6. Something creamy: A creamy dressing
A salad success!
Applebee’s Oriental Salad has chicken strips in it. I almost never add chicken to it because it is an extra step and I feel perfectly satisfied without the chicken. Feel free to add some grilled chicken if you want.
As an added bonus to the secret salad equation, I’m throwing in another super secret money saving tip! I actually happened on this find accidentally.
I was at my favorite kitchen store and I wanted to buy another of my very favorite vegetable peelers. I grabbed one and purchased it. I got home later and was going to use it to peel carrots. I pulled the cover off and realized I had purchased the wrong item. This was a different sort of peeler. But it turned out to be a happy coincidence. It was a julienne peeler (which I didn’t know existed!) And this is what it does Amazing right? It makes perfect little matchsticks. No more buying the little bags of pre-julienne carrots. I was always upset that a bag of carrots worth about 13 cents cost $1.49. Now I can julienne to my hearts desire!
You can get it here Swissmar Peeler Julienne Blade. I love this little tool!
Enjoy your salad and I hope you’ll use the secret equation to experiment and come up with other tasty salads. I’d love to know if you have a favorite salad combination.
Adapted from Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes: Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad