What else should I put on my salad?
August 8, 2006 6:12 PM   Subscribe

What else should I put on my salad? These days, I've often been making a salad that consists of mesclun greens, ripped up red plums, and chunks of fresh mozzarella. It's very delicious but I'd like to add some ingredients. What would go good on top of this/amongst this? My imagination is failing me.
posted by Aghast. to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Red onions and cucumbers. Walnuts or pecans. And possibly some fresh mint.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:15 PM on August 8, 2006

Pecans, grape tomatoes, sunflower seeds, craisins...
posted by alexmikayla at 6:15 PM on August 8, 2006

Red onions -- they aren't too strong, but add a lil' sumfin.

Pine nuts
posted by k8t at 6:18 PM on August 8, 2006

Any of the following might be good depending on your taste:

some red onions
a few small bits and/or seeds of fresh jalepeño peppers
a sliced hard-boiled egg
a little cucumber
some cooked asparagus
some dill or parsley
fresh baby spinach
posted by milarepa at 6:18 PM on August 8, 2006

add some crunch: jicama, water chestnut, hearts of romaine ...
posted by rob511 at 6:21 PM on August 8, 2006

Fresh croutons that you make yourself (or buy). Cut bread into big chunks, toss in olive oil and spices and bake until golden. Croutons fresh and warm from the oven on a salad are INSANELY good. Or tortilla strips.

I put tuna salad or chicken on my salad. I also make a "bacon and egg" salad with hard boiled eggs and warm bacon.

Shredded cheese?
posted by biscotti at 6:28 PM on August 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

Sweet onion, dry roasted sesame seeds (to golden brown, in a frypan. You don't need oil) and a thai salad dressing. Perhaps mango, too.

Roasted cashews or walnut pieces might be nice, too.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:28 PM on August 8, 2006

any freshly picked herbs (basil, oregano, mint, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
posted by iurodivii at 6:28 PM on August 8, 2006

mmmm, croutons.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:29 PM on August 8, 2006

Head to a co-op or a grocery store with bulk bins and look for the pumpkin seeds. Buy them unroasted and unsalted. Take home a bag, toast the seeds in a pan. No oil or anything needed, just scatter them in a pan, no more than one layer deep, on low to medium heat. Warm them up until they start getting a little brown and toasty--a few seeds will pop a little like popcorn. Takes five minutes or less.

They're marvelous, fresh and delicious, and your kitchen will have this warm, pleasant toasty smell as well.

Your only problem will be not eating them all right away before they get in the salad.
posted by gimonca at 6:29 PM on August 8, 2006

plain yoghurt, smoked oysters cut in pieces, black olives,
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:33 PM on August 8, 2006


good for you and taste great

When my salad is my meal I like garbanzo beans and toasted tofu. Anytime I like apple slices, pear slices (these go really well in salads), nuts, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. A slice of goat cheese slightly toasted in a toaster oven or preferably with a torch is really wonderful on top of buttery greens like Arugala (the ultimate salad green in my book) or Boston lettuce.

Last time I was in Orange County I had an interesting salad made with a baby Romain, sliced down the middle and grilled. It was very good, and I am not a big Romain fan.
posted by caddis at 6:36 PM on August 8, 2006

another vote for pine nuts
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:41 PM on August 8, 2006

These are all very good suggestions that have basically said everything I possibly could have, so I'll chime in with one thing that you should never put on a salad like this, at the risk of extreme and lasting nausea: tuna. The combination of mozzarella's watery consistency, the floppy greens (not meant disparagingly, it's only an issue in this context) and the tuna's fishy pungency made me want to die.

No, I don't know what I was thinking either.
posted by invitapriore at 6:42 PM on August 8, 2006

Take a look through this list of ingredients. In this case, I'm making a bean salad, but a lot of the ingredients can be used in other salad.
posted by LeisureGuy at 6:44 PM on August 8, 2006

Not necessarily right with the things you've listed (plum etc) but I recommend dried apricots, they're surprisingly good and chewy in a salad. Oh and toasted pine nuts if you're feeling fancy, yum! I have to stop myself eating all them out of the pan and never getting into the salad...
posted by teststrip at 6:52 PM on August 8, 2006

posted by seymour.skinner at 7:05 PM on August 8, 2006

All my favorites have been suggested, so-crumble up some dry ramen noodles. Don't use to much, and maybe bake or dry fry them before putting on the salad.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:10 PM on August 8, 2006

Toss some pecan rubble in a bowl with a dash of Frank's Red Hot and a little dribble of olive oil, and then sprinkle them with a little basil. You can either proceed to toast them, or just chuck them in the salad.

posted by Sallyfur at 7:16 PM on August 8, 2006

pumpkin seeds
posted by necessitas at 7:24 PM on August 8, 2006

Best answer: If you have a grill, you can grill plum halves and have them with the same salad and it'd be a completely different taste. Change it up by glazing with a bit of balsamic vinegar or brown sugar and it tastes different again.

Mix and match with the above suggestions, especially with different types of nuts and cheeses. Nuts, fruit, and cheese are always a great combo in salad.
posted by junesix at 7:49 PM on August 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

Green beans, preferably the haricot vert kind (thin ones.) Microwave 2 or 3 mins with a splash of water, cool, break or chop into small pieces, add to the salad.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:59 PM on August 8, 2006

all of the above with Annie's Goddess Dressing... the best!
posted by lois1950 at 8:21 PM on August 8, 2006

posted by Skychief at 8:26 PM on August 8, 2006

Track down an Asian grocer and buy some menma. It's basically pickled bamboo shoots that are most frequently served either in ramen or as a side to rice, but it's really good stuff and I rather imagine you'd find it worth a shot. You can generally find it with the other pickled items in either a packet or a small jar.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:55 PM on August 8, 2006

A *light* dusting of cummin. *light*

Depends on your tastebuds - but a *little* *tiny* *bit* is nice.

Tumeric, too, - with it's curcurmin content (and interesting taste) - can also be a flavour-adder to salads.
posted by porpoise at 9:01 PM on August 8, 2006

Response by poster: So much good advice here. Nuts and seeds -- adding some crunch is right on the money. You guys are good at this.

invitapriore: About the tuna that was mentioned before, I am a huge tuna fan and have wanted it to work in salads, but you are right, it is very troublesome and unappetizing and soggy sometimes.
posted by Aghast. at 9:15 PM on August 8, 2006

Personally I have never met a banana pepper I didn't like. I find them less jarring in a salad than jalapeno.
posted by phearlez at 9:28 PM on August 8, 2006

I'll confirm that Annie's Goddess Dressing is a truly magnificent creation.
posted by abcde at 9:34 PM on August 8, 2006

I enjoy cheese-stuffed olives on my salads (feta, gorgonzola.) Pretty good in martinis also (Roquefort.).
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:15 PM on August 8, 2006

If you want to get tuna into a salad, the trick is to use it raw or seared. Ahi is spectacular, of course, but any good tuna will do just as well.

Season the tuna as you like (a ton of cracked pepper works very well, blackening spices also superb), sear VERY lightly in a pan, let it rest, and then slice with a sharp knife. Add:

simple vinagrette (balsamic, wine, citrus juice... lots of room for imagination here)

your choice of greens - preferably nothing with high water content like romaine

crisp, sweet vegetables such as red/yellow/orange peppers

and ta-da! you have a salad to die for.
posted by mek at 10:31 PM on August 8, 2006

Another option:
- Marinate a few balls of fresh mozzarella a day or two in advance in herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, chives, garlic, oregano - pick two), red pepper flakes, and/or finely diced pickled peppers. Use chunks as before.
posted by junesix at 10:36 PM on August 8, 2006

Home-made spicy potato wedges, roasted peppers, roasted butternut squash, thinly sliced raw courgette/zuccini, fresh herbs (mint+basil work well together), a light sprinkling of toasted sesame/chili/basil oil. I take a salad to work every day and throw in some frozen peas into it; by lunch time they're defrosted and yummy.
posted by TheDonF at 12:36 AM on August 9, 2006

Sweat off the red onions with a little olive oil. They should be slightly crunchy but sweeter. Toast sunflower seeds and/or pine nuts in a dry pan. Add to almost anything :)
posted by michswiss at 4:23 AM on August 9, 2006

Oh, now I feel truly silly for forgetting that king of tuna salads - no wait, make that salads with tuna - salade niçoise. Also try this recipe from Too Many Chefs.
posted by mek at 4:57 AM on August 9, 2006

Sorry, this is the direct link for the above recipe.
posted by mek at 4:58 AM on August 9, 2006

Wasabi peas--those spicy dried peas. Crunchy and spicy, good with creamy dressings and cheese.
Feta cheese.
Blanched and chilled fresh green beans, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli... let them sit in a vinagerette for a while and then add to your salad greens.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:53 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Pepitas. I roast them a little in a dry skillet. Dried cherries or some other not too sweet dried fruit is good too.
posted by KrustyKlingon at 7:39 AM on August 9, 2006

That salad sounds good as is. To make it more substantial, try adding some cannellini beans. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and some really good olive oil would finish it off nicely.
posted by kar120c at 10:07 AM on August 9, 2006

I would second the advice to grill them above, but modify it— You cut them up into dime/nickel sized chunks, grill 'em, then roll them in crumbled gorganzola and walnuts. Leave out the mozzerella.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I just tried the roasted pepitas (recommended by KrustyKlingon) on the plum/mozz salad and they were a great addition that I never ever would have thought of.
posted by Aghast. at 4:26 PM on August 14, 2006

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