You need vegetables. They give you nutrients and disease-fighting compounds that just don’t exist in beef and cheese, from Vitamin C (so you won’t get scurvy) to lycopene (which may reduce the risk of prostate cancer). And what better way of getting a wide variety of nutrients than combining them in a salad? Summer is a perfect time for cool food, and most salads come practically right out of the refrigerator onto your plate.
Also, if you’re like me you’ve got a bunch of summer “pot luck” events lined up: barbecue parties, work-related gatherings, tailgating – and let’s face it, most guys bring something pre-packaged, dead boring, or both (“I call dibs on bringing chips!”). If you show up with a tasty, homemade salad you’ll at least have something nutritious to eat, and might even impress the ladies (the bar for a man with cooking skills is pretty low, and that’s in your favor).
But let’s face it, salad done too often can be boring. So you’d better have a wide variety of salad ideas at your disposal – and they sure as hell had better be simple, son. Well, I’ve got good news in the form of a New York Times list of 101 easy-to-make salads. A few of the tasty and simple options on the list:
- Broiled mushroom caps and red onions tossed with basil and olive oil.
- Seared tuna with olives, capers, tomatoes, parsley and olive oil.
- An easy “Sichuan slaw” including bean sprouts, fresh chiles and a soy sauce-based dressing.
- A “turkey sandwich salad”: shredded lettuce or cabbage, turkey, Swiss cheese, rye croutons and Russian dressing.
- Greens tossed with walnuts, blue cheese and raspberries with vinaigrette (how simple is that?).
There are also several dressing recipes you can splash on your own creations. But before I leave you, here’s my own standby:
Simplest Possible Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (any brand, but don’t go too cheap)
- Pinches of salt, pepper and (if desired) basil
Put ingredients into a shaker cup or other shakable, pourable container, then shake. Done.
101 Simple Salads for the Season [New York Times]