The Crisp Green Salad Story – It’s perfectly normal for me to ask my mom to bring her delicious, crisp, flavorful, and colorful Green Salad to our holiday celebrations.
And it’s perfectly normal to ask my dad to please pick up the beef tenderloin on their way. (Here’s an amazing Flank Steak Recipe if you need something to go with the salad!)
It’s great to see them pull up in the driveway – he opens her door and helps her carry all the green salad fixin’s inside. And she comes in and raves about what a great piece of beef he got this time. He says thank you, Dear. All normal. All good. (Yes, I’m getting to the part about how to make those salad fixin’s into an amazing green salad for a crowd!)
What’s NOT normal is that my parents have been divorced for over a decade. Not kidding. A few weeks ago my sister tried to call my mom’s cell phone and couldn’t get through. Then a few minutes later, she got a text from my dad’s phone (I think it’s very cool that both my parents text, even though they’re in their 70s!). I’m out to dinner with your dad, so if you need me just call his phone ~ Mom. Not normal.
My divorced parents were out on a Friday night having pizza and wine? And apparently, they do this all the time. They go to dinners, they watch movies, he helps her out when she needs a picture hung on her wall or a piece of furniture moved, etc. etc. What’s up with that?
Whenever we have a gathering, my dad picks up my mom on his way and they arrive and leave together. And my mom always brings the most delicious crisp, green salad to the table. It’s almost like an art. An art I have learned to imitate.
The Secret to Salad Success
Whenever our kids hear that Grandmom and Granddad are coming over (I think some of our kids still think they’re married… ha!), their eyes light up because they know my mom will be bringing her famous fresh, cool, crisp green salad.
She’s done this for years, and quite honestly, I’ve kind of taken it for granted. She shows up with her bag of goodies, and the next thing I know, placed dead center on the dinner table is the most beautiful, rainbow of fresh, crunchy, healthy, and delicious green salad! Everyone loves it! (here’s another post I did on the Best Green Salad Recipes)
Truth be told, I used to suck at making a crispy green salad, so I don’t make them all that often. But I finally sat my mom down and made her tell me exactly what her secret is. And it’s really not difficult. It just takes a little forethought.
How Do I Make My Salad Crispy?
Get the freshest most colorful green salad ingredients out there – usually this includes Romaine lettuce (always Romaine), ripe, red tomatoes, crunchy baby carrots, crisp English cucumbers, red, yellow, or green peppers, peppery radishes, sliced black olives, and fresh shaved or shredded cheese on top.
The dressing is a very simple extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper mix with a hint of Dijon mustard that’s drizzled on top. You can certainly use a pre-made dressing if you’d like. Here’s one of my favorite store bought dressings!
And the real secret is… she chops up everything several hours in advance, then places each item into a zip top bag with some cool water and refrigerates everything most of the day (except the tomatoes, which are better at room temperature).
For the lettuce, just wash it and sprinkle it with a bit of water, then place a damp paper towel into the bag with the chopped lettuce. This will keep it fresh, crisp, hydrated, and prevent it from getting soggy. You don’t want to soak the lettuce in water.
So, there’s the secret to my mom’s amazing, cool, crunchy, crisp green salad. Just don’t ask me the secret to my parents’ relationship – that one I can’t answer… (And in case you need proof… here’s a picture of them from an Alaskan cruise we all enjoyed last year. Go figure!)
Tools used to make this salad:
Green Salad - Crisp and Delicious Every Time!
There really is a secret to making the perfect crisp, crunchy, flavorful green salad. And here it is...
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Baby Carrots, Chopped
- 1 English Cucumber, Cut lengthwise into fourths, then crosswise into bite sized pieces
- 1 Yellow, Red, or Green Pepper, Seeded and Diced
- 1 Handful Radishes, Washed, trimmed, and cut into small pieces
- 2 Ripe Tomatoes, Chopped
- 1 Can 4 oz Sliced Black Olives
- 1/4 Cup Shaved or Shredded Parmesan Cheese
For the Dressing
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Place all of the ingredients for the salad (except the dressing) into individual zip top bags with a little water and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Make sure to place a damp paper towel in the bag with the lettuce to prevent the lettuce from getting soggy.
- Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients - Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, and Dijon Mustard.
- Put lettuce into a large bowl and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Top lettuce with remaining salad ingredients, then drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with Parmesan and enjoy!
Tuesday 17th of September 2019
this will be a class reunion salad!
Tuesday 17th of September 2019
Perfect! It's a great one to make for a crowd for sure!!
Monday 28th of January 2019
How beautiful that your parents can be friends!
Monday 28th of January 2019
Yes, Terry! It's very nice! :)
Friday 21st of December 2018
Your parents sounds like my parents. My mother also made a salad very similar to your mom's, my mom also added chopped broccoli, and califlower. I thought everyone made their salad that way, until I went into the Air Force (1976). What a shock, Iceberg lettuce, and a quarter of a tomato. NEVER took my mother's salad for granted again.
Friday 28th of December 2018
Yep! A great salad can make or break a meal for sure. Funny about the Air Force salad! Not too surprised by that, though.