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Raw Food Salads

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How to Make Great Salads
by Frederic Patenaude

For more information on raw food, vegan recipes, etc. get The Raw Secrets which contains many more raw food vegetarian recipes, along with lots of information, pictures, and techniques.

The salad is often viewed as the staple of the healthy diet, for many reasons. First, everyone needs to eat more green vegetables. And a salad is a perfect way to eat more of these important foods. Green vegetables are an important source of minerals, especially calcium, which are essential for maintaining health.

There was a “turning point” in my salad making abilities. Before it I made fairly good salads, but nothing to be exited about. Somehow, I learned how to make salads that brought a lot of positive comments. Because of the praise I was receiving from those who ate my salads, I decided to stop and analyze what I was doing. I asked myself such questions as, “What is so different about my salads,” “How come when I go to a restaurants they always serve me salads that are less than amazing, no matter how good the restaurant is,” and “What is the process I go through in order to create perfect salads every time?” After all, I didn’t use any recipes, I just used whatever was in the fridge at the moment. I threw together a bunch of stuff in a bowl, and some magic seemed to occur that no one seemed to be able to reproduce. I thought I had a special talent like some magicians or fortune tellers. But it was far from the truth. I was just an ordinary man, with a technique that operated at the level of the subconscious. I would make good salads every time because every time I used the same process.

The key to making amazing food is understanding how to combine different flavors that you normally would not think of mixing together. So what are those basic flavors?

That is what you learned in school, remember? But there is a lot more to it than that. There are all the textures that you have to play with too. Here are some other flavors, textures, and taste sensations that are important:

So here is what I came up with: Every time I made a salad, I used certain categories of
ingredients that possessed some of the textures or flavors I just mentioned, and found original ways to include these flavors in my salads.

I also found that the categories of food I often mixed together were of the following

Crunchy-Bitter — Green vegetables
Tangy-Sour — Lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar
Fatty-Creamy — Avocado, oil, or nut butters
Salty — Sea salt, sea vegetables, nama shoyu, or tamari sauce
Sweet — Fruits, sweet nuts, maple syrup and honey
And I often used a spicy ingredient, such as garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, or tabasco sauce.

Also, I realized that there are two basic rules I follow when making a salad. One is to make the dressing separately, and add it on top of the salad. The dressing then contains some of these flavors in it, and is poured onto a variety of greens. The other is to simply add the dressing ingredients directly into the salad by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

So once I came to the realization that this was is process I use to create great salads, I went on my way to teach it to some of my friends. They soon became great salad makers, without any recipes. Some times after I made them a salad they asked me, “So where’s the sweet ingredient?” and I responded: “There’s no sweet ingredients in that salad.” They were surprised that I did not follow my own rules. I then explained them that the rules are not rules, but general guidelines that did not have to be followed to the letter. They are simply ideas to be played with.

Using the following chart, you can make perfect salads, without having to follow any recipes. Or you may also try out my salad recipes, or salad and dressing recipes, and find out for yourself how I apply some of these concepts in the creation of the salads.

To make a perfect salad, learn to combine ingredients in each of the following categories in an original way. Remember that your salads do not need to contain too many ingredients.

Let one flavor dominate.

Vegetables and Greens

Tangy-Sour Flavorings

Oily-Fatty Ingredients

Salty Flavorings or Ingredients

Sweet Flavorings or Ingredients

Spicy Flavorings or Ingredients

In addition to these flavors, you may also flavor your salads even more by adding your choice of fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, and cilantro. You may also use some of your favorite spices, such as curry, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

Another important aspect: Presentation

As important it is to please our palates, it is also important to please our eyes. The presentation of food is really important, even if you are making the food just for yourself. Learn how to present food artistically. To do this, work on arranging the food according to its colors, shapes, and sizes.

Make your meal look so good that you feel like you do not even want to start eating it. Be an artist with foods. Even if you are eating more simple meals, such as plain fruits and vegetables, you should arrange them artistically. Why? Because you don’t just eat with your mouth, you also eat with your eyes. For example, let’s take a look at salads. How could you make them look better? Maybe if you were to take some colorful vegetables, such as carrots and beets, and grate them. Use these colorful gratings to decorate your salad.

The appearance of food is especially important if you are trying to get people other than yourself to eat better. By presenting the food artistically they are twice as likely to go for it. Children like to play with food like that, so let them create their own raw food art.

Ingredients that can enhance presentation

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