The month of May is National Salad Month! Tossing a quick salad together can be an easy, tasty, and creative way to add to our healthy eating habits. Bonus, you can get all the components of a balanced meal in a single dish. Celebrate May by turning over a new leaf and incorporating a variety of salads into your diet!
Here is my current favorite and totally recommended salad to start the month of salad celebration.
Mixed Lettuce Salad with Apples, Toasted Pecans, and Shaved Parmesan
The last thing a salad of super-fresh greens and quality add-ins needs is a gloppy bottled dressing to drown those lively flavors and natural goodness. Nor do you need to go to the trouble to mix a vinaigrette from scratch. The trick is to dress it directly in the bowl, tasting as you go, adjusting the acid, oil, salt, and pepper to suit your palate. This recipe begins with peppery, nutrient-dense arugula leaves balanced with crunchy, mild romaine (or iceberg) and embellished with apple slices, toasted pecans, and freshly shaved Parmesan — just the right combo for any cool-weather meal. Serve it alongside a salmon steak or baked chicken breast for a low-carb, high-protein dinner, or add boost the nuts and cheese and add a hunk of whole-grain bread for a light lunch. Serves 4.
-- Susan Puckett
3 packed cups baby arugula leaves
3 packed cups thinly sliced hearts of romaine or iceberg lettuce
1 tart, crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 of a medium white onion (or 2 or 3 scallions), thinly sliced
½ cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, plus more, to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more, to taste
Flaky sea salt to taste (or regular salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
A 2-ounce block of Parmesan cheese
In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, romaine, apple, onion, and pecans. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and toss well. Then drizzle with ¼ cup of olive oil and toss again so that the leaves are evenly coated, adding a little more if needed but taking care not to overdo it.
Sprinkle with about half a teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper, toss again, and give a leaf a taste. Add a splash of more vinegar if it can use some more tartness, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Shave the cheese directly over the top of the salad and serve immediately.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.