Veggie Challenged - Hate Homemade Salads




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OnceUponADrive
10-20-2009, 08:24 PM
Maybe it's psychological, but I just HATE my own salads I make at home. I've tried a number of different types of lettuce from the pre-cut bagged mixes to just buying romaine heads and cutting them myself. I add all sorts of other veggies, fruit, nuts, etc. They just never taste anywhere near as good as they do when I'm out. I REALLY enjoy restaurant salads (even without the fatty dressings). I don't know what it is. It's like the lettuce never seems fresh enough for me...or it tastes too bitter.

What other greens can I use besides plain old romaine or spinach? (I really just don't like the thick and chewy texture of raw spinach)


srr728
10-20-2009, 08:53 PM
I am in love with the Dole mixes that have all the stuff in them, like the southwest one has little tortilla strips and cheese and a yum vingary southwest creamy dressing. And i love any greens with some feta in it. I usually just buy different dole mixes, they have a spring mix that my hubby loves and I like the very veggie.

If it tastes too bitter my mother in law adds a little sweet n low to her italian dressing and it makes everything a little sweeter.

i just found i love romaine with feta and some italian, thats just me!

dont give up, its so much cheaper to make your own girl ;)

yoyoma
10-20-2009, 08:58 PM
Have you tried baby spinach or bagged mesclun mix? Those are my favorites.


ringmaster
10-21-2009, 04:45 AM
I read the trick with restaurant salads is they use salt and pepper, so maybe try that. The bagged kinds usually stay fresh and are prewashed and taste fine to me though.

rockinrobin
10-21-2009, 08:23 AM
I don't like the pre-cut bags. They always have an artificial taste to me.

I use romaine hearts, mesclun mix and/or baby spinach. Since these are not to your liking, maybe you should experiment a bit - red leaf lettuce, bibb lettuce, red cabbage...

I make my salads yummy with the add ins, any combination of:

-mandarin oranges
-diced mango
-sliced strawberries
-diced peaches
-blueberries
-craisins
-chopped walnuts or pecans
-shredded carrots
-kirbys (part of the cucumber family)
-sliced red onions
-diced yellow, orange or red peppers.
-sliced grape tomatoes
-grilled chicken breast
-deli turkey breast
-tuna fish
-fresh white button mushrooms
-sauteed portobello mushrooms

I dress my salads with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. Every now and then I use some salsa as a dressing. An enormous bowl full is my lunch most days of the week. LOVE IT!

MindiV
10-21-2009, 08:44 AM
Same here! I can use the SAME type of lettuce they use in restaurant salads and it's just not the same....I just made myself keep eating it 'til I got used to it.

Thighs Be Gone
10-21-2009, 08:57 AM
Have you ever tried to make a chopped salad? Everything is diced very fine. For me, this makes a tremendous difference. Because everything is chopped finely (even the lettuces) you get a nice combination in every bite.

Aussie Nikki
10-21-2009, 08:58 AM
I agree with the mesculin mix and baby spinach. But I also love rocket - not sure if that's just the Aussie name or if it's the same in the US.
It does have a slightly bitter taste to it, but it's heaven with a super simple dressing of lemon juice, a tiny drop of olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. I have it with grilled fish. Divine!

For a main meal salad, I like to mix a bit of cous cous through baby spinach, then add feta, finely diced red onion, red or green capsicum, chickpeas and even grilled eggplant (if you can be bothered grilling it first). Very meditteranean and very delicious!

rockinrobin
10-21-2009, 09:21 AM
Have you ever tried to make a chopped salad? Everything is diced very fine. For me, this makes a tremendous difference. Because everything is chopped finely (even the lettuces) you get a nice combination in every bite.

This is actually how I learned to LOVE tomatoes. I hated them before I switched over to a healthy lifestyle. But I knew they were a weight loss powerhouse - low in calories and high in nutrition. I made (still make) a finely diced red onion/cucumber/tomato salad dressed with lemon juice, salt and pepper. AND it keeps for days.

Be creative. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. There are SO many different types of salads out there.

Nikki, I LOVE the idea of grilled eggplant in a salad. I actually have one sitting in my fridge. And I should have remembered - chick peas are a great addition to salads. As are black beans.

Shannon in ATL
10-21-2009, 10:59 AM
Most of the bagged salads taste a little artificial because they are treated with a preservative to keep them from browning so fast in the bag. Some people, my dad & DH for example, actually get sick from the preservative. Some people say you can wash the bagged salad with a veggie wash (like Fit) and remove the residual chemical. I haven't tried that, I just buy fresh lettuce.

I work in the restaurant business, and in the places I've worked there has been nothing magic about our salads. :) We didn't add anything like salt and pepper or other spices, it was straight lettuce (type varied), spring mix, various veggie toppings, then any optional toppings like bacon, nuts or seeds, croutons or granola, dressings. Some might put some kind of seasoning on, I don't know. The only thing we did do differently is that we always washed our veggies, lettuce included, in a veggie wash.

I had the same problem with home salads for a long time, which was weird since I made them the same was as the restaurant salads, sometimes with ingredients I brought home! It just felt different, I never hit that magic blend of things. Remember, a restaurant salad is typically taste marketed for just the right mix of flavors. Our salads at home are kind of thrown together. Experiment, see what you like, try reproducing a restaurant salad maybe, and see what happens?

JulieJ08
10-21-2009, 12:08 PM
Most of the bagged salads taste a little artificial because they are treated with a preservative to keep them from browning so fast in the bag.

I'm not sure I've noticed a chemical taste in the salad bags. But I snagged a piece of apple from my niece's McDonald's Happy Meal - ick.

bacilli
10-21-2009, 07:41 PM
I agree with the mesculin mix and baby spinach. But I also love rocket - not sure if that's just the Aussie name or if it's the same in the US.

It's usually referred to as arugula in the US, but I still call it rocket - it's more amusing!

I prefer making my salads at home, to be honest. Salads out always seem to have too much extras and not enough greens for me. Then again, I'm one of those people who will eat raw baby spinach with my fingers as a snack.

rockinrobin
10-21-2009, 08:09 PM
I prefer making my salads at home, to be honest. Salads out always seem to have too much extras and not enough greens for me. Then again, I'm one of those people who will eat raw baby spinach with my fingers as a snack.

I too prefer homemade salads. I can make them customized,enormous and I know exactly what's going into it (& what's not) and they're as fresh as can be.

And I'm right there with you - I love munching on raw baby spinach.

Lori Bell
10-21-2009, 10:50 PM
Can you check your local farmers market for fresh fall salad greens?

I am very fortunate to have a fall garden and for supper tonight as a side dish we had a wonderful salad made with a mixture of all sorts of baby greens. It's like a mesculin mix minus the beet and mustard greens. I also mixed in some baby spinach, and radish slices and then some tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet red onion, (also from the garden, but done growing for the year. :(). I had a huge bowl with 2 T of low calorie 1000 Island (for sweetness because a few of the greens do have a bit of a bitterness) mixed with about 2 T of red wine vinegar. It was awesome! for about 70 calories total I had a lot of delicious jaw action.

I also agree that different fruits like strawberries and oranges make fresh greens salad so tasty. I usually avoid cheeses and nuts on my salad because they really add the calories without much extra volume.

Nice thing about planting greens in the fall, they can take some pretty hard freezes and continue to grow until daytime temps remain below freezing. You can harvest a nice batch almost daily. (And hardly any bug action! ;))

natamars
10-21-2009, 10:55 PM
I love baby spinach and radicchio together. I agree with the previous poster about chopping - somehow it tastes better that way! I add shredded carrots, broccoli slaw or very finely chopped broccoli crowns, diced yellow peppers - it looks so pretty. For toppings I like grilled chicken, chick peas, sliced almonds, raisins, or dried cherries. I like a lot of dressing, so I always have to allow for that - I usually measure out 4 tablesppons.

OnceUponADrive
10-22-2009, 10:58 AM
Thanks, everyone. I will try chopping them up more, that sounds like it might work!

colebear
10-30-2009, 10:50 AM
My favorite salad is made with Romaine, a can of mandarin oranges (drained), an avocado (diced) and a little sliced red onion. I dress it with a homemade cilantro lime vinaigrette which is made one cup fresh cilantro, 1/2 a cup orange juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 clove garlic all blended together in the blender.

Everyone who tries it loves it.

Shannon in ATL
10-30-2009, 11:46 AM
I'm not sure I've noticed a chemical taste in the salad bags. But I snagged a piece of apple from my niece's McDonald's Happy Meal - ick.

Honestly, I don't taste a lot of difference in the bagged either, but I hear that from a lot of people. The texture feels a little different to me, but I'm still newish to salad. Dunno. I do taste a difference in the new Burger King salads - they come in pre-packaged and are pretty much just the bagged salad in a plastic bowl.