Fall in Love with Salad: Part 1

I've fed many an omnivore in my time. I never set out to make anyone love salad, but time and again, I've done it. This is me, doing a little victory dance for greenery, right here. 

Since I've learned a thing or two over the years about how to make people fall in love with salad, I thought it was high time I shared my tips with the public. After all, I don't want to take these secrets to the grave. In fact, I think everyone should try them out, regardless of your dietary persuasion. 

Making a "salad hater" into a "salad lover" is no simple task, so I have a lot of tips to share. For ease of reading and better blogging, I'm breaking this into a 4-part series. Here in today's post, it's all about greens.

All About Greens

In my experience, most people who complain about or profess to dislike salad are being completely honest. It's likely that, in their lifetime, they have encountered salads that mostly consisted of iceberg lettuce, pink tomatoes, and slimy cucumbers. Top with dry, flavorless croutons and overly generous portions of Italian or Ranch dressing, and you've got the typical American side salad, right?

They're doing it all wrong.

I've found that it's much easier to introduce someone to salad by using heartier greens. I steer clear of the iceberg entirely, and instead, look to base my salads on one of the following greens, depending on what's in season (and possibly on sale): 

  • Kale (curly or lacinato) 
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Baby spinach or spring mixes 

Merely substituting one or several of these greens can improve a salad's enjoyability factor by several fold. (Yes, I'm so serious about this that I just made up a word!)

Why do I think this works? 

One of the primary complaints I hear about salad is that it's not filling, or that the person is hungry again soon after eating. Water-heavy greens like iceberg don't really take a lot of work to chew or digest, which leaves people with that "still hungry" feeling. Hearty, darker greens require more chewing, and take a little longer to digest, which help keep you feeling fuller longer. 

If you're wondering, dark greens also offer a wide variety of benefits that old iceberg just doesn't. Although iceberg has slightly fewer calories and is a good source of a few vitamins, it really can't compare to the darker greens. Kale, for example, packs so many vitamins and minerals that I can't keep track. It's like a multivitamin in leaf form, really. See for yourself.

If you have a real skeptic on your hands, try a mixture of greens. Use a 50/50 mix of dark greens with romaine lettuce, which has a satisfying crunch without being quite as boring as iceberg.

Now that you've got a handle on the green situation, you're well on your way to making anyone fall in love with salad. The real trick, of course, is the other ingredients of your salad. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where I share some hints about what to mix in with your greens for the most irresistible salads you'll ever taste.

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