I enjoy salads. I do. Sometimes I feel as if salad-eating is a prerequisite to being a dietitian. But after a while, salads get boring. To ensure I don’t slack on my salad loving, I desperately try to come up with ways to improve the salad eating experience.
When I try to develop ways to improve my home cooking, I often think about meals I eat in restaurants. What is different about how they make food, and how can I replicate that? Salads are an excellent example of this discrepancy: I feel that restaurant salads always taste significantly tastier than any salad I make at home.
One technique restaurants use that I have picked up on is using cooked vegetables on top of their lettuce. Roasted vegetables are easy enough. I absolutely adore their soft, complex flavors. So why not add them to some lettuce and call it a salad?
I thought that white (onions) atop green (lettuce) would be too bland in color, so some sliced baby carrots were thrown into the mix.
While these were roasting, I was deciding on a protein to round out the meal. We recntly bought some organic andouille chicken sausages. . . perfect. They’re mostly cooked, just throw on the cast iron to reheat and get a little crispy.
And with the onions and carrots out of the oven, the sausages browned and smelling sensational, and some Israeli couscous that was cooking in the background . . . I suddenly realize that my meal is a shining example of the half plate method! Quarter protein, quarter starch, half vegetables, I fulfilled these recommendations without giving them a thought.
Takeaway lessons from the meal are as follows.
- Take note of restaurant techniques you can use to bump up the at-home dish variety.
- Plan your meal around vegetables, and the rest will fall into place.