10 Must Know Salad Hacks

10 top tips for adding the yum to your salad! These must know salad hacks will up your salad game in no time.

We all know salads are a great healthy option, but if you don’t do it right it can feel like a punishment rather than an enjoyable meal! Here at HealthNut, I’m all about enjoying my food. Otherwise, what’s the point? These 10 must know salad hacks are tiny tweaks that will make a big difference. Your salads will be so delicious, you’ll actually want to eat them. Salads may not be the sexiest thing, but we can totally make them sexy!

If you’re looking for some seriously good salad recipes, check out my cookbook. There’s a whole section in it just for salads, so you’ll never get bored with your salad again!

1. Use a salad spinner

Most of us know to wash our lettuce before eating it, but did you know how important it is to dry it properly afterwards? If your lettuce is wet your dressing won’t stick to it properly and you’ll end up losing a ton of that delicious flavour. It’s also not particularly appetising to eat soggy lettuce… gross. My go-to for drying my lettuce is this salad spinner. Some may think it’s another of those unnecessary kitchen tools, but trust me on this one. If you eat salad, get yourself a salad spinner. It will make such a huge difference. As a bonus, you can use it to store your chopped, washed greens in the fridge to keep them nice and crisp.

Top tip: When it comes to hardier greens with a thicker stem such as kale, remove the stem before adding to your salad spinner. The stem is super woody so don’t throw it away – it’s great for using in stocks!

2. Chop greens with scissors

No one likes huge chunks of lettuce when they’re eating a salad. Once you’ve roughly chopped your salad leaves and added to a bowl, go in with some kitchen scissors and chop it all up! This is one of the easiest must know salad hacks to create little bite sized pieces, and it also helps mix up your greens.

3. Massage heavier greens

This might sound a little strange, but when it comes to heavier, hardier greens like kale or cabbage one of my favourite salad hacks is to give them a little massage. It basically breaks down that cell wall, which means they won’t be so tough and bitter. Massaging your greens helps soften them up and makes them easier to digest and chew. All you need to do is drizzle a little olive oil and sea salt (lemon juice works great too) onto your greens, and then massage the leaves with clean hands. 

4. Chop vegetables small

If you’re in a rush, the temptation can be to just roughly chop your veggies and throw them in. The danger here is ending up with huge chunks of cucumber and tomato and whatever else you’ve got in there. Of course, there’s a time and a place for a nice chunky salad, but when you take the time to chop everything up small you’re going to get a much richer combination of textures and flavours with every bite. Throw on a podcast and have fun with it!

5. Slice vegetables with a pizza cutter

While we’re on the topic of chopping up your veggies, try using a pizza cutter and a wooden or metal bowl to quickly slice up your salad! There’s a lot of fancy cutting and chopping tools you can buy, but this is so simple and it works really well. You can get a really nice fine chop with this method, and if your goal is to pack in as much flavour as you can with every bite, this is a great way to do it. Fun fact: some restaurants are famous for this style of salad!

6. Measure salads to reduce waste

I don’t know about you, but I run into this issue all the time when making a salad and that is making too much! Depending on what salad you’ve made it doesn’t always store well in the fridge once made up, especially if you’re using softer greens (hello soggy lettuce!). To stop yourself from making too much and having to throw leftovers away, pre-measure your salad for each person. Just grab one of the bowls you’re going to actually be serving the salads up in, add the amount of greens you’ll need for just one person, and then throw that into your big salad bowl. Repeat the process for each person you’re feeding, and you’ll have the perfect amount! 

Pro tip: This is also a great hack for when you’re making pasta!

7. Use a variety of flavours and textures

Possibly the most important of these salad hacks if you’re looking to create a really delicious salad – get creative! Don’t just opt for the basic garden salad that’s, let’s face it, kind of boring. Think outside the box and experiment! Here are some of my favourite things to add into my salads for that extra flavour and texture:

  • Olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Tahini
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Croutons
  • Walnuts
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cranberries
  • Dried apricots
  • Grapes
  • Apple
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Capers

8. Salt your salads

This one might sound a little weird, but one of my favourite must know salad hacks is adding salt into your salads. You might not want to add extra salt if you’re already using salty ingredients like feta or capers, but if you’re not then definitely sprinkle a pinch of good quality sea salt over your salad or mix it into your dressing. Trust me, it will help to bring out the flavours of all your lovely ingredients! 

9. Choose dressings to suit greens

Not all salad dressings were created equal! You want to make sure you’re matching your dressing to your salad. If you’ve got a hardier salad with something like kale, opt for a creamier, thicker dressing that’s really going to stick to it. On the other hand, if you’ve got a light spinach salad a thick dressing will just weigh down the greens and overpower the salad. I have two staple dressings that I absolutely love making: a basic vinaigrette that I eyeball and this caesar dressing.

My favourite dressing ingredients:

While we’re talking about dressings, there are a few main ingredients that I always have on hand that I love mixing and matching.

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil (or something like avocado oil)
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Garlic (not only great for flavour, but it’s also immune boosting!)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Yellow mustard
  • Tahini
  • Mashed capers (the brine is also delicious!)
  • Maple syrup (great for balancing out the acidity of the vinegars)
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh or dried herbs like dill and parsley
  • Sea salt
  • Nutritional yeast (adds a really nice cheesy flavour and it’s plant based!)

10. Dress salad in a big bowl before plating

This one might sound obvious, but mix your salad with your dressing in a large bowl before plating or adding to smaller bowls. If you’ve got your salad in a small bowl, it’s going to be way harder to properly mix your dressing in and you’ll end up with bits of salad not dressed and bits with way too much dressing on! Tossing it in a big bowl beforehand makes sure your salad is evenly coated.

What are your favourite ingredients to add to your salad? Do you have any salad hacks you swear by? Let me know in the comments below! 

If you make your own salads, be sure to share a photo on social media and tag me @healthnutnutrition #healthnuteats so that I can see your creations! 

If you’re looking for more salad recipes and tips, check out all my Rainbow Detox Salad recipe and my Classic Nicoise Salad recipe.

 

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