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During the summer months, sometimes all you want is a fresh and simple dish to have for lunch or dinner. Salad may be just what you’re looking for — with so many vegetables in season, it can really fill you up, and you don’t have to feel guilty when you go for seconds. There are so many options to choose from that there’s no need to stick to Caesar salad or Cobb. Be a little adventurous and try making a salad with radicchio and wheat berry, for example.
Before you start experimenting, we’re arming you with tips for keeping your summer salad crisp, because no one likes wilted lettuce. When you go to the store, you probably buy smaller portions of lettuce in anticipation of premature spoilage, but now you can buy a week’s worth all at once — it will actually last this time.
We all know that wrapping lettuce in a paper towel helps keep it crisp, but something a little sturdier can make a big difference. The next time you bring your lettuce home from the grocery store, chop it up and divide it into the correct portions for your meals, rinse each portion, run it through a spinner, and spread it out on a clean bath towel. Yes, a bath towel. Place the lettuce in an even layer on the towel and let it air dry for a few hours, then roll up the towel with the lettuce still inside, secure with a rubber band, and place in your fridge until you’re ready to use it. This method actually works.
Salad can be tricky for dinner parties: if you make it beforehand, the lettuce may get soggy, but it’s distracting to assemble once your guests have arrived. We have a foolproof way for you to add salads to the menu at your gatherings. When you want to make a batch of salad for a soirée, use the layering method. It’s easy: Just place the salad dressing at the bottom of the bowl and layer all of the ingredients on top. Let’s say your recipe calls for celery, oranges, feta, and lettuce — you would place the dressing on the bottom, add the other ingredients (making sure the lettuce is always on the top), then cover with a paper towel and refrigerate. When it is time for the party, take the bowl out of the fridge and mix it all up. It’ll be perfectly crisp when your guests arrive.
Now that you have The Daily Meal’s secrets to keeping your summer salads crisp, try out a few of our favorite recipes. Here are some to get you started:
Avocado Caesar Salad
For a creamy addition, add avocados to your next Caesar salad. Swap out the eggs and oil in the dressing for avocados and you’ll get a velvety and rich taste. For the Avocado Caesar Salad recipe, click here.
Looking for a healthy meal that won’t take a lot of time in the kitchen? This is the recipe for you. Find precooked fresh beets in your produce section — they’re a healthier alternative to the canned variety. For the Beet Salad recipe, click here.