5 Foolproof Tips For Restaurant-Style Salad Toppings At Home
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Eating a bowl of a hearty salad for lunch feels much different when you throw together ingredients at home, versus when it is served at a restaurant. Even in the cases of a watermelon-feta salad or a chicken Caesar salad, the restaurant plate seems to have a bit more structure and form, instead of the chaotic mess we stare at as we look into our homemade bowls. Salads at home are meant to be fuss-free and quick to assemble, as the idea behind not having to cook each element, as well as having the luxury of swapping ingredients as per taste is something that is made easier.

However, with low effort that involves spending a few extra minutes in the kitchen, even you can make a salad bowl feel like the toppings have been bought-in from a restaurant. With a combination of a few prepping techniques, salad toppings can provide the same satisfaction in both, texture and flavour. Here is how you can go about it.

While dicing or chopping vegetables for a salad, or using ingredients like chives, green onions and green beans, slant your knife upwards to form a bias while cutting through. This not only makes slender vegetables appear elongated, but also more visible in a salad as an ingredient, instead of only making an appearance when flavour is involved.

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Shave, Don’t Grate

Whether it is shards of hard cheese, cucumbers or zucchini, use a vegetable peeler to shave thin strips over your salad, to give it textural variation as well as visual appeal. Shaving things into ribbons also allows the dressing to spread over a wider surface area, giving you more flavour in each bite. These thin shavings are also easier to pierce with a fork and pick up, while taking a bite.

Keeping Flavours Intact

If using ingredients like fruits or dry fruits in a salad, make sure to only chop fruits coarsely – apples, peaches, oranges or pears – in order to keep their juiciness intact. Try not to combine too many warm ingredients with raw ones, as the heat might tend to affect the textures of your lettuce and other salad bases. Use minimal ingredients for the dressing and make sure to add just a little bit to coat, serving the rest on the side.


Chopping and tearing ingredients like cabbage, lettuce, toasted breads allow them to release their natural flavour compounds, thereby accentuating their flavours. Similarly tearing herbs like basil, parsley, coriander and dill by hand, allows for the permeation of a deeper, more intensely herby flavour to your salad bowl, as opposed to when they are chopped. Wait until the salad is ready to serve, before tearing or chopping herbs.

Dry Your Greens

If you’ve noticed, most salad plates served in restaurants have leaves that have been washed and patted dry thoroughly, for them to take on the flavours of the dressing and other ingredients. Make sure to do this in advance, so that any residual moisture can evaporate, leaving your salad greens looking fresh but moisture-free and not soggy.