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soup up  your salad eat your greens and like them too
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3

Occasional freak snowstorms aside, April’s that time of year when most of us get to ditch the bulky coats and wool sweaters, to look forward to that first warm, sunny day when the temps finally inch into tee-shirt weather. This is a good thing, a happy thing, a much-anticipated thing: after a long cold winter of bundling up so tightly that our bare arms and legs haven’t seen the light of day in months, we’re ready to shed the layers. Or so we think – until we panic at the thought of any pounds we’ve accumulated during the winter months suddenly becoming all too apparent as shapeless sweaters give way to all-too-revealing spring and summer attire. Time to shape up and eat better, to trade those hearty winter foods for some lighter fare: to rediscover the joys of a good, healthy salad.

Of course, eating lighter shouldn’t have to involve sacrificing good eating. Fortunately a salad doesn’t have to mean a blah plate of that flavorless iceberg lettuce (unless you want it to, of course: iceberg does have a nice crispness in its favor, and the similarly crunchy romaine can be too better for some folks). Start with a generous pile of good, chock full o’ flavor mesclun, try a heap of tender baby spinach, mix in a generous handful of fresh herbs. Then get a little experimental, with little touches of strong flavors and interesting textures. Check out these five suggestions for turning a ho-hum plate of greens into a meal that’s so tasty you’ll forget that salad’s actually good for you …

1 fruity ideas
Maybe you think the idea of fruit in salad sounds kind of suspect. You’ve seen the canned peaches sitting at the end of the salad bar next to the sunflower seeds and the croutons, and thought to yourself: sweet peaches mingling with salty vinaigrette? Ew! – and, well, in the case of the canned peaches, you might be right. But in the right balance, fresh fruits can add the perfect note of sweetness to an otherwise tangy-salty-savory salad.

So toss in some fresh fruits – go with what’s in season and you’ll get the ripest, sweetest, most luscious fruits at the best prices. Apples, pears and grapes are lovely in fall; oranges, tangerines and grapefruit are fabulous in winter; spring brings strawberry season, and summer is perfect for blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and more. If the washing, peeling, slicing and dicing that fresh fruits tend to require is just a little more work than you feel like dealing with, dried fruits are also a tasty way to add a touch of sweetness to your salads. Tart dried cranberries are particularly yum – and as an added bonus, their deep red color looks gorgeous dotted amongst fresh greens.

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