4 Fresh Salads That Are Stand-Alone Stars
4 Fresh Salads That Are
Most home cooks don’t bother putting all that much effort into a salad because, you know, it’s a salad. But a good one can make a whole meal; in fact, it can be the whole meal. So we are tackling the humble salad—and the extra steps are entirely worth it. Trust.
The Thai cucumber and herb salad has onions prepared two ways (pickled and crisp-fried) and includes ingredients—like kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and Thai chilies—that might require a trip to the Asian market but make the salad so bright and addictive, you won’t care. The homemade horseradish dressing on crunchy snap peas and asparagus: You just have to try it. The kale and cabbage slaw will be great no matter how strong your knife game, but if you practice your julienne a bit, you’ll reap some extra rewards with crisp green apple matchsticks. The radicchio and pickled beet salad might turn the bitter-averse into bitter-believers; it’s balanced by egg, herby yogurt, salty pistachios, and earthy-sweet pickled beets.
And: Each salad is still doable and easy enough to incorporate into your weekly meal plan.
This salad hits all the notes—tangy pickled onions; crispy, salty fried shallots; cool cucumbers; bright, tender herbs; crunchy, fatty peanuts; spicy greens; and a super citrusy dressing. It’s perfect served alongside a simple protein, like grilled fish, with a side of coconut rice, but we would happily have it on its own for a killer salad lunch.
Balance is key here. The sweet, earthy flavor of the golden beets gets some acidity and heat from the pickling brine, the eggs and yogurt dressing provide much-needed fat to mellow the bitter radicchio, and the pistachios add crunch and salt. Plus, it’s gorgeous and would be a stunner at any brunch or lunch.
Fresh, crunchy vegetables are crucial to this salad, but that creamy horseradish dressing is the star. Add it to your dinnertime rotation for dunking crispy roasted potatoes or in lieu of aioli in your favorite sandwiches.
It doesn’t get easier than this. The dressing is incredibly forgiving (the creamy Dijon mustard makes emulsifying foolproof), and from there, all you have to do is chop and toss everything together. Since the cabbage and kale are quite hearty, we love this for a packable work lunch or a potluck dish.