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How to Make World-Class Salads

I find that people who don't regularly eat salad typically don't have the experience of enjoying one that's rich and varied enough to be a satisfying, stand alone meal.

If this describes you, I hope that the salad making tips found below are helpful in making world-class, nutrient-rich salads a regular part of your day.

I like to start every salad with a bed of crisp romaine lettuce:


Romaine lettuce seems to provide just the right blend of minerals and chlorophyll to build and maintain strong teeth. If you have problems with sensitive teeth, try eating at least half a head of romaine lettuce a day - doing so should strengthen your teeth.

Here we have some of our favorite choices for our vegetable salads - carrot, celery, zucchini, red beet, bell pepper, and avocado:


Now a real key to making a top notch vegetable salad: a mandoline that turns root vegetables and summer squashes into lovely, long strips that provide mouth-feel that simply can't be matched by knife-sliced vegetables.


Here's a close-up of our Japanese mandoline:


Notice the horizontal blade spanning the width of the mandoline, plus the blade with vertical striations to shred the vegetables into beautiful strips.

Warning: Please be conservative when using this type of mandolin - rather than try to grate up every last bit of vegetable, it's better to leave a good chunk at the end and keep your fingers away from the blades.

Here's what a stalk of zucchini looks like just after it's been put through our mandolin:


Nothing too impressive, until you give it a light toss, and voila:


I'm telling you, it's all about mouth-feel, and transforming a bulky vegetable into these delicate strips changes everything.

Building our salad:


Now the same thing with carrots. Right after shredding:


And the magical transformation after a light toss:



For some natural saltiness and a wide variety of bone-building minerals, add some crisp celery to the mix:


Notice that we like to slice our celery diagonally - just another mouth-feel thing.

For a rich serving of the full vitamin C complex, natural sweetness, and more vibrant colors, add slices of yellow and red bell pepper.


For more natural sweetness plus a generous dose of betacyanin (a powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrient), add just a touch of shredded red beet:


And the last essential ingredient - a ripe avocado:


In keeping with presenting our vegetables in long strips, we like to slice our avocados up lengthwise. We start by evenly slicing while still in its skin:


And scoop the slices out in one swoop with a spoon:



Avocado adds a rich, creamy texture to your salad that perfectly complements all of the natural crunch of fresh vegetables. Avocado also provides a solid dose of lutein to help keep your eyes healthy.


Definitely a few notches above standard Caesar and house salads served at most restaurants, right?

Here's the thing: you can create countless varieties of world class salads that begin with what you see above as a base.

Shredded cucumber and cabbage are particularly good to add on hot summer days.

Vine-ripened tomatoes add more sweetness and natural juice.

For more sweetness, add chunks of fresh fruit like mangoes, apples, grapes, and bananas.

For more protein, add a handful of raw walnuts, pecans, or cashews. Or a soft boiled egg.

And to bring everything together, definitely look at trying a wide variety of salad dressings. When you're feeling tangy, a simple blend of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt is always a simple and delicious choice. Craving something more substantive? Try blending up tahini or your favorite nut butter with a little water, lemon juice, and sea salt, and you instantly have a creamy, protein-dense dressing to get your salivary glands pumping.

If the idea of nourishing and cleansing your body appeals to you, before you resort to a fast or cleansing program that requires deprivation and/or synthetic supplements, try going a week eating nothing but three of these salads a day - I haven't found a more effective way of enjoying a concentrated period of intense internal cleansing.

I hope that this post serves as inspiration to make nutrient-rich salads a regular part of your day. There's really no way to quantify the priceless health benefits that you'll experience by being a world class salad eater.

Do you have any salad and/or salad dressing making tips? Please consider sharing via the comments section below. Thank you.


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My favorite dressing is a blend of radish, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. It definitely has some kick to it. :)

this one is similar to one you've mentioned:

olive oil
pressed garlic
sea salt
dash of tamari

this one has a nice "bite":

tablespoon or 2 of tomato paste
olive oil
pressed garlic
chopped parsley (or herb of your choice)


I always add some chopped kani kama (crab sticks) and sprinkle it with flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
Occasionally, I also add some black beans (of which I cook large amounts and keep in the freezer: boil beans, drain out water, let them cool off, put in a plastic bag in the freezer, and take out & shake bag every couple hours two or three times to ensure they don't all stick together).

You can also put them on cookie sheets to freeze evenly, then when they are frozen you can put them in freezing containers -- this way they won't all stick together, and you don't have to shake a bag 3 times !

As a vegetarian, I also like to add chickpeas (garbanzo beans), kidney beans or lentils to a salad like this - really makes it a full, satisfying meal.

I find the best salad sauce to be Olive Oil with Grapefruit juice (e.g. instead of lemon or vinegar) absolutely unbeatable.
A bit of dry ginger (powder) along with the salt and pepper can work marvels and add a whole different taste.
I have various blends of interesting herbs to spice up my salads or cottage cheese - these can include: ginger, dry fennel seeds, cumin, cardamom, coriander, dry orange peel etc. - deffinitely work wonders for me on that every day salad.

I also like to eat raw herbs with my salad. Whole basil leaves, cilantro, and flat-leaf parsley would all be great with the salad you present. Although these days I prefer my salads undressed, I do have a dressing which I adore. It starts like an ordinary vinaigrette and is made of just a little Dijon mustard, some lemon or lime juice or vinegar, some olive oil and a tiny amount of hot chili-garlic sauce. What makes it unique is that you add a generous amount of raw honey - enough to make the dressing taste a little sweet. The honey really makes this taste very different than your usual vinaigrette and will appeal to those who don't like bitterness or sourness to be a predominant flavor in their dressing.

The photography is beautiful! I just wanted to encourage people to try raw jicama in salads - the texture is like that of a crisp apple, and it blends well with any other flavors. Thanks Dr. Ben Kim for the pictorial!

Great tips! I have just copied them to my iPhone, to always have them with me! I am definitely getting a mandoline.

I cook beans, of all colors, and keep them in small portions, in the freezer, so I can add them to any salad I prepare. Believe me, the touch they add is fantastic.

Thanks for your articles, I have been enjoying them for some years now.

I dressing I enjoy is as follows 2 TBSP lemon jiuce 1/2 of medium sized red onion chopped up finely 4 tsps of flax seed oil add salt if desired, stir thoroughly and pourover salad

I love eating like this and I never feel better when consuming this type of luscious bounty. Here are my tips for additions to add more variety and other nutrients:

1. White beans (I use rinsed cannellini or great northern from a can)
2. Firm, cubed Tofu
3. Put your salad over a "base" of whole wheat noodles or quinoa (with a little EV olive oil)
4. Use any kind of rinsed beans and brown rice as a salad "base"

The sky's the limit. I also rarely use anything but the types of salad dressings you describe. I can't wait to try the nut butter idea. Yum!

How delicious and what a great kitchen tool the Mandolin is! I like to chop and mix up a weeks worth of greens and vegetables at once to cut down on the labor intensity when your starving and don't want to eat the easiest thing available. If the salad is Practically pre-made it makes sticking to the salad meal plan so much more simple. I chop Romaine letuce, cabbage, (both red and green), kale, chard, collard greens, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, cilantro, red onion, green onion and other vegetable that will hold for the week and store in a gallon size ziploc bag or other airtight container. hese vegetables will stay really good for about a week refridgerated in a good container. Then when I'm ready for a salad, all I have to do is take a huge handful of the pre-mixed salad and add the goodies. Avocado, tomatoes and peppers and a yummy dressing of your choice. One of my favorite things is lemon juice and Mrs. Dash. Or I like to mix some salsa and a little ranch dressing with water to thin it out and pour over this salad and put some drained rinsed Kidney beans and a few tortilla chips crunched up on top for a mexican flare. You get loads of vegetables at each meal with only a once a week effort to prepare.

Yes such a great convenience idea, however, once vegetables are cut, they start to oxidize very quickly, losing precious vitamins and enzymes.
To prevent that, these cut ups could be put through a rinse of lemon juice; ascobic acid; or water from an ionic, alkanizer water system, not sure if it is the acid water setting that helps preserve the item.
Some folks have ozone/nutribiotic drops put into the water bath for preservation.
Energy mats (put in bottom crisper shelf) help to raise the vibration of any food in the fridge for long periods of time.
Hope this helps.

I have read an item about fresh onions that when you cut it, you should consume it within hours,and not leave it overnight, even if it's refrigated, otherwise,the healthy elements turn into unhealthy ones.

very very yummy yummy and ...very nutritive.. i like Dr. Ben Kim world class salad...

I love following ur posts, Ben, very informative and useful.
Here's my favourire salad recipe.
Using the mandolin, grate 1 beetroot, 2 green apples and 2 carrots.
Toss it to really mix well. I usually use a pair of chopsticks as I can seperate and mix together at the same time.
No dressing is required. U can optionally add in some currants or seeds.
It tastes really good.Fresh and crunchy!

I make salad dressing by boiling balsamic vinegar to reduce it. Boil it until it is about as thick as maple syrup. Then make a vinaigrette as you normally would and it is delicious. I like to use walnut or olive oil.

Can anyone reccomend a good brand for a mandoline slicer?

Try Williams Sonoma. They have several really nice ones.

I have the v-slicer which I use for bigger jobs, but for my salads, I use the OXO which is handheld and tucks easily in a drawer. I don't love the protectors that come with either, so I use only long veggies and don't get too close to the blade. Really love the oxo and its ease of use, though. Inexpensive so its a good starter one.

Oh i know which one ill stay with! The DeBuyer mandoline. got it from chefs ctalog. or williams sonoma cant remmeber. FABULOUS! have had sevral and this will stay with you for DECADES. steel and made to last by the top company in the world. Never knew until i kept having to replace mine all the time! Did research and it was pricey but it wasnt cheap replacing the others either every year or so! I can hand this one down to my daughter!

This is a great article and I love those pictures! I just discovered a product in my local Publix that has a lot of these ingredients already cut for a salad. It's called Salad CutUps (Salad Topping Mix) by Pero Family Farms, and frankly, I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. I found it in the bagged lettuce section and basically it had individual packs of diced peppers, julienend carrots, grape tomatoes, diced cucumbers and diced red onion all in one bag. Everything was soo fresh, and delicious I've never made a salad at home that I looked so forward to eating. Anyways, it was soo easy to make the clean up, just dump on the lettuce and I was done. Great for when I need to get dinner done quick.