1. Use a lot of colors. This salad has green from spinach, red from apple, white from fennel, blue from a poppy seed dressing, purple from onions, orange from clementines (none of them made it into this photo because my kids raided the salad), beige from walnuts, and white from cheese. That is 8 colors, not quite necessary, but try for 5.
2. Use a variety of textures. Crisp apples, crunchy nuts, burst of liquid (orange),creamy cheese, smooth avocado, papery spinach… the list goes on.
3. Do not overdress. No one likes a soggy salad! When perfectly dressed every leaf will be covered lightly in dressing, but there will be no (or very very little) dressing left over. More is not always better.
4. Dress wisely. Leaves wilt easily so dressing should not come into contact with them until right before you eat. Some vegetables might do better dressed ahead of time though. I like red onions to be dressed ahead of time to take a bit of the sharpness out of it.
5. Sturdy leaves can stand up to a heavy dressing. Flimsy leaves need a light dressing. Example= Romain goes great with Caesar dressing while spinach plays best with a vinaigrette type dressing.
6. Cut and chop wisely. It is very annoying to try and eat a salad and them come across a big huge chunk of hard carrot. This makes it a challenge to eat. The harder something is, the smaller or thinner it generally should be cut. Try to get a variety of cuts and sizes though.
7. Use a variety of tastes. Tangy cheese, smooth eggs, hearty arugula, refreshing tomatoes, sweet fruit, nutty nuts (great description, right?) your taste buds will thank you.
8. Add toppings with reservation. If you are making a salad with greens make sure you have no more than 1/2 (or probably 1/3) of the salad be toppings/chunks, otherwise it is very hard to eat and you will be left over with toppings.
9. Learn to make your own dressings. Homemade dressings just taste better and are so much healthier.
10. Use salt. If you make your own dressings either include a bit of salt into the dressing, or finish after dressing with a flaked or finishing salt (table salt is a little too harsh). It does not take much salt, but it does need it. I have Pink Himalayan Salt in a grinder that does a course grind. I LOVE that on salads as the tiny bursts of flaked salt really helps the other flavors in the salad shine.
11. Dry your leaves! I use a salad spinner as it is easy, but however you do it make sure you dry them. Remember a well dressed salad with have lightly coated leaves. If the leaves are coated with water, you can not properly dress your salad.
12. Do not skip the dressing. Many vitamins are oil soluble, so get the most out of your salad with healthy fats. Plus it just tastes better.
13. Get creative. I am just not getting to the point where I can enjoy salads again after having far to many boring ones during a time of eating mostly raw vegan. Salads can and should be varied and tasty!