Excellent question and I believe that people who shy away from making salads is because they haven’t been privy to the right decision-making processes and methods:
Tip 1: We always start with one hero ingredient. Salad makers make the mistake of deciding on a whole bunch of produce and then they get frustrated. Just choose one thing and from there build the rest of the ingredients around it by understanding what ingredient pairs with what. We understand that sounds difficult, which is why we created an entire pairings section on our website to help our readers.
Tip 2: When we’re looking at all the ingredients, we have to picture it in our minds what it would look like if they were put together. Is it too bland in colour? Are all the textures and forms limp and boring? We always try to add at least 1 element that stands out or at least gives the salad that oomph it needs.
And when we look at our ingredients, we don’t always cut it, cook it or present it in the stock standard way. Why do carrots always have to be diced or tomatoes have to be sliced? Well, they certainly don’t in our book!
Tip 3: We are never afraid to try new things. With the emergence of hybrid vegetables, we are constantly introduced to produce that we are not familiar with. We especially love finding these in farmer’s markets where we also get to talk to our local and regional farmers and learning more about the fruit and vegetables they grow.
Also, we love to explore ingredients that are culturally foreign to us. No better way to excite the senses then to walk into a grocer where you have no idea what 90% of the things they sell are!
Tip 4: We always try to mix it up with our dressings, which is the one component you don’t normally see in a salad. But there are so many combinations that you’d be spoilt for choice. The dressing is our opportunity to balance or uplift the overall taste of the salad.
For example, if the salad is too bitter, create a dressing that is sweeter or if the salad is too bland, create a dressing that has umami undertones. We also know this sounds complicated so we have also created an entire section on the website with dressing recipes.
Tip 5: Contrary to popular belief, we don’t mix and toss about half of our ingredients. We do a lot of “building” and “layering”. This way it gives us better control of styling and it’s not just one glob of mess. And this is not a practise just for taking images, it is common practise in our salad making process.