the new salad rules

If you want to step up your salad making read on as I’ve pulled together my top salad rules. Think of them as building blocks – when you’re making a salad check that you have the right elements to make it a perfectly rounded and balanced dish. Before long this will become instinctive. Until then, maybe print this off, pin it on your fridge door and use it as a checklist.

I’d love to see what you end up with, so remember to share this on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest when you make it. Tag it #ystcook so I can see!

Ditch the bowl – Use a platter so that everyone gets a bit of everything. Bowls mean everything good falls to the bottom.

Vary your veg prep to add texture – Chop, rip, squish, spiralize, grate, shave/peel. Check out my videos of how best to prep your veggies for salads.

Stay inspired – Clean out your fridge and use that as inspiration. Keep a notebook of your successes

Layer your salad like nachos – greens at the bottom, dressing, then shaved, chopped or ripped veg, more dressing, then the fat and protein, more dressing then the herbs. Finish with the then the crunch.

You don’t always need to make a dressing! Just scatter the leaves with lemon juice or vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper for a bright simple salad

Try new greens:

Lettuce – try some different varieties

Herbs as salad leaves

Shaved or shredded cruciferous veg – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale

Give it some body:

Grains – quinoa, bulgur, faro, brown rice

Roots – roasted carrot, butternut squash, celery root or sweet potato

Cruciferous – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale


Work the textures:

Raw/crisp – ribbons or thinly sliced raw veggies – fennel, radish, cucumber, beans, pickled veg

Crunch – nuts, seeds, roast garbanzo [chickpeas], chicken crackling, crispy bacon, croutons, dukkah

Squidge – avocado, roasted root veg, soft cheese

Pops – tomato, pomegranate seeds, citrus segments

Add fat for mouth feel as well as nutrition:

Avocado, oil, good cheese, egg

Balance in all things – but especially flavor

Sweet – roasted root veg, tomatoes, honey, maple syrup

Salt – pickles, fish sauce, bacon, sea salt flakes, tamari, cheese

Sour (acid) – citrus juice, vinegar, pickled veg

Bitter – citrus zest, bitter greens

Umami – Fish sauce, tamari, bacon, Parmesan, meat juices instead of oil in dressing

Mix the temperatures:

Most flavor dies at cold temperatures. Always serve your salads at room temperature for the best flavor. My ultimate salads always have a mixture of temperatures – maybe some hot roasted veggies, cold crisp leaves and other room temperature ingredients.

Room temperature (most elements)

Hot (usually the crunchy elements)

Cold (usually only the greens)


One thought on “the new salad rules

  1. Pingback: all the homemade salad dressings you need | you say tomato cooking

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