College Kitchen: Salads made tasty

Salads don’t have to be self-torture.

The North of the Border, The Italian and The Promethean Pasta Salad are all examples of salads that don't have to be healthy.

The North of the Border, The Italian and The Promethean Pasta Salad are all examples of salads that don’t have to be healthy.

Isabella Romano

Salads aren’t a diet food. They don’t exist solely for fitness junkies looking to eat slim after a calorie splurge on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. 
 
A good salad is easy, cheap, delicious and filling. Plus, it’s an efficient way to fit nearly the entire food pyramid in one bowl. 
 
The key to salads with variety is the initial investment in dressings and toppings. Once these are already in the fridge, vegetables and other ingredients are cheap. 
 
Best of all, a good salad manages to use whatever is in the refrigerator. Salad recipes are easily adapted. 
 
Having one or two missing ingredients isn’t the end of the world, and off-recipe additions are welcome. 
 
In order to keep room for variation based on availability, each salad recipe has a backbone, paired with a list of possible tasty additions and a “splurge ingredient” for pay day. 
 
The North of the Border
 
Beware: this salad is seriously addictive. It’s salty but still fresh. As is illustrated by the long “tasty additions” section, there are lots of variations. Go ahead and empty out the leftover burrito from last night over the top. The possibilities are endless. 
 
The backbone:
 
One large handful of greens (iceberg lettuce, romaine, spinach or a combination)
One medium tomato, diced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced
5 sprigs of cilantro, de-stemmed and torn
1/4 cup of shredded cheese
Drizzle of ranch dressing
Drizzle of chipotle hot sauce
One handful of tortilla chips, crushed over the top
 
Tasty additions: 
 
1/4 of a cucumber, diced
1 green onion stalk, chopped
1/2 of an avocado, diced
8-ounce can of black beans
1 ear of corn, cooked or raw
1 dollop of sour cream
1 jalapeno
 
Splurge ingredient: 
 
1 cup of ground beef, seasoned with taco mix
 
The Italian
 
No judgment. It’s perfectly acceptable to order three slices of pancetta at the deli counter solely for this recipe. With the pancetta, this concoction becomes Italian caprice with a salty kick. Though visibly a small portion, this salad is surprisingly filling.
 
The backbone:
One large tomato, diced
1/4 of a cucumber, diced
2 sticks of mozzarella string cheese, chopped
5 leaves of basil, chopped
Drizzle of blush wine vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Tasty additions:
1 green onion stalk, chopped 
1 avocado, diced
Handful of croutons
 
Splurge ingredient:
3 slices of pancetta, diced
 
The Promethean Pasta Salad
 
So named because it can take on nearly any flavor desired. However, the balsamic dressing and the peach pair for a complex, sweet-and-tangy flavor. With this in mind, the additions are highly recommended. 
 
The backbone:
 
1 cup of penne pasta, cooked, dressed in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cooled
2 sticks of mozzarella string cheese, chopped
1/4 pound of cherry tomatoes, halved
Drizzle of a light balsamic vinaigrette 
Dash of salt and pepper
 
Tasty additions:
 
1 green onion stalk, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons of cilantro, torn
1 firm peach, diced
 
Splurge ingredient:
 
1 grilled chicken breast