Apple slices and chopped walnuts in a green salad. Photo courtesy Equinox Maple Flakes.
America needs more fruit in its green salads. Except for Asian chicken salads that toss in mandarin segments, we tend to keep a strict separation of fruits and vegetables.
One of THE NIBBLE’s consulting chefs, Eric Dantis, always added some julienned apple or pear to our green salads. His trick was to pickle the vegetables for an hour to add extra layers of sweet and tart:
Add the sliced fruits to a brine of vinegar with some sugar or sugar substitute. The brine should cover the top of the fruit.
Option: Use your favorite spices in the brine (cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns).
Marinate for an hour or longer (they’ll keep up to two weeks). The flavor will get more intense over time.
You can also add your favorite nuts to the salad.
What dressing should you use on a green salad with fruit?
A vinaigrette is the best option. It can be conventional or sweet.
Wendy’s uses a raspberry vinaigrette dressing made from real raspberries, açaí juice, shallots and balsamic vinegar. You can add a spoonful of raspberry purée to your vinaigrette, or use raspberry vinegar or raspberry balsamic vinegar.
Fruit might become your favorite new addition to green salads as well as protein salads, from chicken and seafood to grilled tofu.
Clementine, mandarin or orange segments
Peaches, nectarines and other stone fruits
Use canned pineapple or dried fruits when you don’t have fresh ones.
In addition to flavor, there’s the nutrition: Berries are high in antioxidants and nuts deliver protein and heart-healthy oil.
If this doesn’t sound immediately appealing, head to Wendy’s and try the ever-popular summer salad, Berry Almond Chicken Salad. It’s fresh blueberries and strawberries atop a blend of 11 mixed field greens, chunks of grilled chicken breast and roasted almonds, topped with shredded Asiago cheese.