I usually start with one ingredient and then think about the flavors, textures, & colors that will compliment that primary ingredient. Sometimes the idea for the dressing comes to me first, and then I open up my culinary creativity to what would come “alive” with that dressing. Other times, a vegetable or fruit pops up in my mind and is the base for building a big bowl of “yum.” I like to be sure that each of my salads has elements that provide chew, crunch, smoothness (or that subtle mouth feel from fat), brightness, and protein. A variance of colors and contrasting textures is always important too, since eating the Rainbow is what salads are all about.
It’s like a puzzle, or an art project, to seek out components that will (hopefully) make for a flavorful lunch. I use my own palate as my primary guide, and I rely on my 28 years of vegetarian cooking & ingredient exploration to unlock all of the creative culinary possibilities that a salad could hold. I will also turn to Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s The Flavor Bible and their follow-up The Vegetarian Flavor Bible as an informative resources when I want to expand my thinking about what “works” with something. I usually look up the ingredient in question, see what’s listed as complimentary, and then cross reference those complimentary foods, herbs & spices to broaden my thinking, taking chances, sometimes, on an “outlier” ingredient to see what it could bring to the bowl.
When the salad comes together, dressed and ready to eat in my favored blue ceramic bowl, pausing to take in the colors, textures, aromas, and anticipation of the vibrant, healthy, unique meal I’ve created is a pleasure I feel fortunate and enlivened to experience. I hope the photos, ingredient lists, and salad ideas on this blog give you the same moments of savoring.
Thanks for visiting,