's Sites We Love Saveur Magazine has listed The Skinny Gourmet among its "Sites We Love"

I've been having a great time checking out Nashville's high end dining on the cheap thanks to Groupon. Have you tried it yet? Its awesome. I don't know why I ever hesitated.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Salad Love: Part I

I grew up in the Midwest. If you are anything like me, you grew up thinking salads were something you ate before a meal, not for a meal. Salads were something to be endured, a punishment even. But bit by bit I discovered how truly delightful salads can be. A great salad is an assault on the senses: bursting with color, the strong scent of vinegar and herbs, that delightful crunch of lettuce paired with the smoothness of cheese or even papaya.

When we typically think of salad, the first thing we think of is a base of lettuce. So again comes my mantra: avoid tasteless bland foods simply because you think punishing your tastebuds is healthy. By which I mean resist the urge to reach for the iceburg lettuce. I spent years hating salads because I thought I hated lettuce. I was in college before I discovered all the wonderful different varieties of lettuce beyond the crunchy tasteless iceburg variety. I love a spring greens mix, with a little baby spinach mixed in. Experiment and see what works for you. Perhaps you really do like iceburg lettuce. But be sure you are eating something you love, and I strongly encourage you to sample every variety of lettuce sold in your grocery store before you settle for the old standby. Make sure you are eating by choice, not by habit.

Now with a bed of greens to provide bulk to your salad, it is time to top it with things that are visually beautiful. This is one secret of gourmet eating that doesn’t need to be left behind when you diet: better looking food tastes better to you. It increases your appreciation for the act of eating. It begs you to slow down and savor the experience of eating, which helps you feel fuller and more satisfied. Even better, color is often an indicator of high nutrient quality.

The following are great sources of color, texture and taste:

  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Chopped Celery
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Cucumbers
  • Red or yellow sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes
  • Green, red or yellow peppers
  • Roasted beets, red or yellow
  • Jimaca
  • Radishes
  • Artichokes, especially spicy marinated artichokes

If you are just starting out experimenting with non-traditional salad combos, treat yourself to a nice salad bar. Whole Foods usually has quite extensive offerings. Experiment with different combos to find what you love.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:
Salad Love Part II
Heidi's Salad

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