Food & Dining: Salad Spinner Food & Dining

Create Your Own Salad in 6 Easy Steps

Now's the time of year when salad making can be the most fun, with so much fresh produce at hand. If you'd like to explore a range of permutations, take a spin through this interactive. The concentric rings of the wheel list a small portion of possible ingredients. With five turns and a choice of dressings, come up with a serendipitous melange for your next weeknight meal (spin before you go shopping).

Spin the spinner once for each step to choose an ingredient.
(Makes 4 servings)

3 Tips for Making Salads

Make Your Own Vinaigrette
Fresh leafy greens and vegetables taste best when tossed with a homemade vinaigrette. Once you get the knack of balancing oil and vinegar (3 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon) or citrus (substitute 1 tablespoon juice for 1 tablespoon of the vinegar), it takes only a minute or two to prepare one.
Shop Local
Seek out fresh ingredients from the source: a farm share, one of the 4,400 farmers markets across the country or a local farm stand.
Plan the Presentation
Think contrast. Mix dark, spicy greens such as arugula and watercress with pale green lettuces such as bibb or Boston. Red radishes, white daikon radishes or sweet white jicama, cut into matchsticks, look beautiful with grapefruit or orange sections, strawberries or raspberries. Combine textures by including frisee (the frizzy member of the chicory family), endive sliced lengthwise or spiky mizuna. If using cheese, always add it last: Parmesan shaved with a vegetable peeler, mini feta cubes instead of crumbles. Herbs and edible flowers, when available, taste and look exquisite.

The Dressing

Dressings to Try

The Basic Vinaigrette

Vinegars, Etc.


Unconventional Ingredients to Try

  • Edamame
  • Bok choy or Chinese cabbages
    Slice thinly
  • Jicama or daikon radish for sweet crunch
  • Blanched snow peas
    Cut into thin strips
  • Farro
    Italian whole grain, similar to barley
  • Chipotle peppers
    Add one to a lime dressing for heat, balance with honey
  • Wasabi
    Great in Asian dressings or coleslaws for a little kick
  • Cheeses
    Check with a cheese store and try a different one each time
  • Water chestnuts for crunch in an Asian chicken salad
  • Quinoa
    Whole grain; fabulous mixed with diced vegetables and chopped watercress
  • Wheat berries
    Another whole grain; makes a great grain salad to substitute for potato or pasta salad
  • Heirloom vegetables such as tomatoes or melons, full of flavor
  • Ethnic dressings

Flavor Affinity Combinations

If you don't want to spin, just try these combinations:
  • Salad Greens - Watercress for color contrast, Thinly sliced radicchio for color
  • Other Vegetable - Artichoke hearts
  • Fruit/Nuts - Roasted apricots
  • Cheese/Other - Feta, Grains/pasta, Smoked mozzarella
  • Salad Greens - Arugula
  • Other Vegetable - Beets, Jicama, Cooked edamame
  • Protein - Poached or leftover salmon
  • Fruit/Nuts - Mango slices, Walnuts
  • Cheese/Other - Dried seaweed
  • Salad Greens - Boston lettuce, Sliced napa cabbage
  • Other Vegetable - Shredded carrots, Scallion greens

What Goes With Greens

Perfect even the most exotic salad greens with these suggestions for paired toppings and dressings.
» What Goes With Greens


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