The most important part of the salad is the base, whether it is delicate leafy greens, hearty greens, thinly sliced cooked or raw vegetables, or a combination of the three. Play around with different lettuces, vegetables, even fruits.
1. DELICATE LEAFY GREENS: Delicate greens take best to lighter dressings, like a simple vinaigrette or just oil. Arugula, mâche, mesclun, watercress, red leaf lettuces, fresh herbs (like chervil, chives, tarragon, parsley, dill), pea shoots, edible flowers
Example: Grape and Almond Mixed Greens Salad
2. HEARTY LEAFY GREENS: Heartier greens can stand up to thicker dressings, like Caesar, Green Goddess, or a puréed avocado dressing. Young kale, romaine, radicchio, Belgian endive, curly endive, dandelion, spinach, escarole, Bibb lettuce, little gem lettuce, butter lettuce, young chard
Example: Bitter Greens Salad with Caper Vinaigrette
3. SLICED RAW OR COOKED VEGETABLES OR FRUITS: Thinly slicing raw vegetables like celery root or artichoke, or fruits like apples and pears, can make a delicious and substantial salad base. Same with sliced cooked vegetables, like potatoes and beets. Cabbage, fennel, radish, celery, cucumber, celery root, artichoke, carrot, jicama, roasted beets, napa cabbage, boiled potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash
Example: Shaved Fennel and Pistachio Salad