My go to salads have only five ingredients, or main components. I always start with a bed of lettuce and add a fruit (ranging from berries to oranges, depending on the season), a cheese (usually something crumbled like goat or feta), and a nut/seed (candied walnuts or roasted pumpkin seeds are my usuals. Then, I top it off with salad dressing. My standard is equal parts of Olive Oil, a fancy fruit vinegar (Grapefruit White Vinegar is my favorite) with a little squirt of dijon mustard. If you don’t have any fancy vinegar you can always substitute regular grocery store vinegar (apple cider, white, rice, or white wine vinegar) and add agave or honey to taste (about a tablespoon per quarter cup of vinegar). Lemon or lime juice can also be used instead of vinegar. I will sometimes swap out the dijon mustard with white miso paste – either one works to help emulsify the liquid.
My husband is an incredible gardener, so produce is rarely a problem for us. But that should not stop you from making a quality salad, because even when we are between crops, I still kill the salad game. One thing that this Shelter-in-Place has taught me is to use more of what I have. So, scrounge through your kitchen, and make your own salad dressing to pour over a salad with ingredients that you may not have thought of before. Need more protein? Add some roasted quinoa or cooked farro. Need more fat to make you feel full? Add some avocado or cooked meat. Have a sweet tooth? Let the sweetness of fruit sway you into loving a salad. Out of fruit? Dried fruit works too – try plumping raisins in hot water to make them softer. Craving a crunch? Roast the nuts – or even better….candy them with some butter and sugar. The point is, even people who are not fans of salad have said they like my salads.