Use Tahini Instead of Mayo for Creamier, Delicious Pasta Salad

When it comes to pasta salad, I’m firmly in the no-mayonnaise camp. In an effort to avoid the whole mayo-laden dish sitting out in the hot sun conundrum, I usually dress my pasta salad in a light vinaigrette before serving it at a barbecue.

But what if you want something a little creamier? That’s where tahini comes in.

Source: Why You Should Be Putting Tahini in Your Pasta Salad

Tahini is such a better nutrition choice than mayonnaise.

It’s Time to Stop Eating Bagged Salads

It pains me to say this, because I’m lazy. But after the umpteenth outbreak of food poisoning from bags of freshly washed greenery, I think it’s time we all stop eating bagged salads.

Source: It’s Time to Stop Eating Bagged Salads

TLDR: bagged lettuce comes from a number of different farms, and because it has multiple sources, each possibly with bacteria on it, increasing the risk of contamination. That’s versus lettuce sourced from a single farm.

Use Slow Roasted Shallots to Make Creamier Salad Dressings

Let’s get one thing straight: A salad is really only as good as its dressing. Sure, it’s important to use farm-fresh, in-season produce. And yes, careful and creative preparation is not to be ignored. But hey: Without a good vinaigrette, you’re just eating forkfuls of dry spinach, and there’s nothing sexy about that. Some of our favorite salad dressings are rich and creamy, and well, not exactly healthy (although there is certainly a time and a place for blue cheese). That’s where these alterna-emulsifiers come in. When you’re looking to get a little creative, try these lighter, brighter ways to turn your dressing into the main event.

Source: What Sorcery Is This?! 7 Creamy, Rich Salad Dressings That Are Actually Healthy

I know what the headline says, but the avocado option would be my “go to”.  Way more healthy choice.  I have information about making your own nut “milk” and butter.

If you’re already grilling outside, throw a handful of unpeeled shallots on the grill along side whatever else is cooking.   Turn the shallots until the skins are blackened and the insides are soft, then let them cool. Scoop out the soft insides…  You’ll get a sweet smoky flavor that’s good in dressings, sauces, etc.

The Restaurant Secret for Tastier Salads: Add Salt

The salt?  It comes from the staff’s fresh tears 😉 😀

The other night I ate one of my favorite restaurant meals: a finely chopped arugula and radicchio salad with tiny, crispy-yet-melting bits of fried onions, and paper-thin shards of sharp cheese. It’s a fabulous salad, but it’s one I’ve never been able to recreate at home. Unlike many restaurant dishes, which I feel can be recaptured at home with a little detective work, salads can just taste so much better when you’re out.

Here are a few reasons why that it is — and a few ways to make up the difference at home.

Source: 5 Reasons Your Salad Probably Tastes Better at a Restaurant

Or, try adding a little sugar. Diabetic? Use liquid artificial sweetener.

Add Subtle Flavor to Pasta or Salad by Rubbing the Bowl With Garlic

But Graziella’s pasta salad didn’t taste like the many I’d eaten at backyard barbecues here in the States. There was an undertone to them, a background flavor that was in every bite, but was hard to identify.

When I finally cobbled together enough Italian to ask Graziella how she made her pasta, I realized what I was tasting: garlic. But not minced or crushed or sliced garlic. No, Graziella used the essence of garlic. And she found that essence in just one clove, which she rubbed on the inside of the bowl that she’d eventually be tossing the pasta in.

Source: The Italian Secret to Great Pasta Salad

This tip probably also works because of the aroma of the garlic—our sense of smell affects our sense of taste, so picking up on the aroma can make a big difference.

5 Salad Mistakes to Avoid

Think salads are too simple to mess up? Think again. Paying attention to the details and knowing the right techniques make all the difference in preparing a salad that’ll impress everyone at the table.

Start making salads like a pro and avoid these 5 common mistakes.

Source: 5 Salad Mistakes to Avoid

I remember when I learnt that iceberg lettuce had little to no nutritional value.  Romaine is a little better, nutritionally, but then you start encountering vitamin K concerns…

Can You Substitute Strawberries For Tomatoes When Cooking?

Strawberries are at their sweetest right now, going all the way through the summer. And while everybody knows how delicious they are in desserts, we’ve actually heard you can use them as a replacement for a tomato. I decided to try this out and see how well it worked.

I can’t take credit for this concept. That would go to Dave Woolley, a Denver-based culinary consultant (who, full disclosure, does work with California Strawberries). He said: try using strawberries in place of tomatoes in a veggie sandwich with goat cheese, in a Caprese-style salad, or in a salsa with seafood dishes.

Source: Tip Tester: Can You Substitute Strawberries For Tomatoes When Cooking?

No mention of spaghetti with strawberry sauce…  How about a big ol’ slab of strawberry on a BLT or burger?  You can also put them on pizza. They benefit from some balsamic reduction added post-bake. Slice like pepperoni.

An interesting idea for people who are allergic to tomatoes!  I’m not, but a co-worker is.  The article admits that this isn’t cost-effective.

Another tomato substitute is watermelon. It doesn’t have the acidity, but you can add lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or what-have-you.

Blend Bread into a Dressing for an Egg-Free Creamy Texture

Salad can be a great healthy meal, but if you don’t want the calories and fat that come with a heavy dressing, try using bread as a thickening agent. You’ll get a rich, creamy texture without using eggs or mayo to get it. This is especially useful if you’re out of eggs, have an egg allergy, or are a vegan.

You don’t have to change your dressing recipe to make this work—just use bread where you would a thickener like mayo or egg yolk. As you blend the bread with the rest of the ingredients, the dressing will thicken. You can use this as an opportunity to get rid of bread that is getting stale.  Lots of breads do not have egg in them: challah, sourdough, foccacia…  Some, like sourdough, will contribute to flavour.

Another alternative would be: ground flax or chia seeds (1TBSP to 3TBSP water per egg needed, mix until thick) than bread. Easier, lighter, good for people avoiding carbs and gluten.  Egg substitutes have been covered in the past.

Study: The Effect of an Eating Companion’s Appearance on Food Intake

There are a lot of things that can influence our food intake: marketing, mindset, and that slowly spinning cheesecake in the glass case. A recent study found that who you’re eating with—and whether they’re larger than you—may also affect how much food you actually end up eating.

Source: Your Fellow Diners’ Appearance May Influence How Much You Eat

Statistics are like bikinis: What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

Groceries: 7 Biggest Rip Offs

…it’s hard to make blanket statements like, “Vanilla yogurt is always overpriced,” or, “You’ll always pay too much for broccoli.” But we know that stores, including grocery stores, employ all sorts of tricks to get us to spend more money — so when exactly should we be on the lookout for ripoffs?

Consumer Reports senior projects editor Tod Marks explains that anything specifically packaged or presented to make your life easier tends to carry an abnormally high price.

Source: The 7 biggest ripoffs at the grocery store

Guilty pleasure: I buy bagged salads.  Between the shelf life, the likely lower quality and convenience – I have a hard time not doing it.  I just want the lettuce/greens – I’ll add corn, tomato, carrot, celery, etc myself.