Tossed, Composed or Bound?

I had never heard of the Association for Dressings and Sauces, nor that they’ve been around since 1929. I was also unaware of their annual conferences in which attendees discuss topics such as: “No Two Acidulants are the Same”, “Sensory Science and Flavors” and the wildly popular “Natural Preservatives: A Peek Behind the CurtainBut now I know this organization exists and that they are responsible for creating a month-long celebration in May that promotes one of my favorite dishes in the whole entire Universe… and that is, crunchy, cold, crisp salads! Hooray for the A.D.S. and kudos to them for establishing National Salad Month!

My salad days began, well, in my salad days when I was just a youth. Every spring and fall, my dad planted a veggie garden. Wonderful for us, as we reaped the benefits of his green thumb.  Cool cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, firm zucchinis, sweet carrots, and tender lettuce leaves always made their way into our salad bowls and onto our table.  Packed with antioxidants, colorful and textural, salads can be a boost to any diet.

One of Dad’s Gardens

While salad is usually served before the main lunch or dinner course in the U.S., I recall eating greens after our meals when vacationing in Italy and France.  Eating one prior to an entrée may fill you up and reduce your caloric intake, however savoring a salad at the end of your meal may improve your digestion.  And if you prefer to make a salad your entire meal, chances are you’ll gain in both ways.

Just as there are varying thoughts on when to have salad during a meal, there is also the question of the best time of day to enjoy one.

From my travel journal: August 7, 2007 Tel Aviv, Israel

“Ate breakfast at “Carlton on the Beach” restaurant…very nice!  Salads served for breakfast! Refreshing!”

Since that experience, from time to time, I choose to nosh on salads for my morning meal. But then the question becomes, tossed, composed or bound?

Tossed salads are just as the name implies; ingredients are tossed together so that everything, including the dressing, is mixed in evenly.  Think Caesar, Spinach or Greek. Or perhaps composed is the way to go.  Carefully assembling each item from the bottom of the plate up, like a Cobb, Wedge or Caprese salad.  Still, maybe sinking your teeth into bits of a bountiful bound salad is better.  Afterall, they are held together with a binding agent like creamy mayo, yogurt or a thick dressing.  Yum! Chicken, Waldorf, and Ambrosia salads all fit this bill.

Heart Heathy Salad

Simple to make and fun to eat, tossing, composing, or binding various veggies, with perhaps fruits, grains, proteins, legumes and toppings is a creative way to bring more healthy eating into our lives! This month, as well as every month. So go ahead…dig in!  

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