Salad Dos and Donts

Salad Do’s and Don’ts

Let’s get something straight. If diners order an entrée salad, they are looking for something sensible to eat. The presumption is that the salad is not a calorie bomb. And they don’t want to be left hungry. It’s called an “entrée” for a reason.
So why do so many restaurants offer such “weak” options?

What Not to Do:

    1. Offer a salad that is too small.
    2. Not filling.
    3. Calorie bomb.
    4. Not tasty.
    5. Too much dressing or bland dressing.
    6. Devoid of good veggies—real green veggies. Too many salads have cucumber, carrot, and tomato. These are fine but there needs to be much more.
    7. Too many caloric treats and not enough bulk.

What to Do:

  1. Serve it in a bowl and don’t be stingy with the greens. Ensure that it’s nearly overflowing. It makes the customer happy
  2. Offer flavors, e.g., Mexican, Asian, Italian, traditional, etc., and then offer accompaniments that go with the theme.
  3. Get with the salad dressing program. Oil has little flavor, and when a customer requests the dressing on the side and it’s oil based, it’s really hard to get any of the flavors without a ton of caloric oil. Ask your customers: Do they use oil dressings at home—ones that separate? I doubt it. Dressing should burst with flavor and not require constant mixing.
  4. Use a 2:1 ratio. What’s this? An easy formula for creating a veggie-heavy salad. For every “treat” topping, there should a minimum of two real veggies. Any entrée salad should have about three treats (nuts, croutons, berries, avocado, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon bits, olives, etc.) and then six veggies (steamed broccoli, green beans,red pepper, mushrooms, grilled zucchini, red onions, tomatoes, etc.).
  5. Fresh herbs can do wonders. Sprinkle fresh basil on an Italian-flavored salad and it will come alive.
  6. Mix up the greens. Arugula and spinach are much more interesting than romaine.
  7. Don’t forget the protein. It should always be just as good as what is offered on the rest of the menu, and it should begrilled or prepared in a healthy manner.
  8. The Caesar salad exception. None of the above really applies to a Caesar. Anyone ordering a Caesar knows it’s not healthy. And those ordering one appreciate the calories! It’s a treat on its own.