Diners who are health conscious, vegan or vegetarian comprise an ever-growing segment of any restaurant’s patrons. Adapting to their culinary preferences is an easy way to boost your bottom line with menu offerings that are inclusive and delicious.
Salads, of course, are the dishes that first come to the chef’s mind, since they require little-to-no cooking, minimal prep time and frequently draw on inexpensive ingredients. The key is creative execution, so take a look at these eight ideas for inspiration.
The Caesar Salad is a popular choice for diners, whether health conscious or not. Romaine lettuce, croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese are the main ingredients, and you can add other kinds of lettuce and even protein for more flavor and texture.
The typical dressing has a high calorie and fat content, so you can whip up a healthier version using Greek yoghurt, olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, salt and pepper.
Also known as the village or rustic salad, the Greek salad features tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, onion, olives and red or yellow bell peppers, topped with feta cheese. You can use cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives, and even add chickpeas to offer something new to your guests.
For the dressing, it’s best to keep it light and simple. Combine olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper and dried oregano. Drizzle this mixture on top before serving.
Healthy salads don’t need to only have green, leafy vegetables. You can include proteins like chicken or beef to cater to your meat-loving diners. For this recipe, you can soak the chicken strips in a marinade made with Teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice for at least 30 minutes or overnight, so the sauce is absorbed better. Add in Knorr Aromat Seasoning Powder to boost and add richness to the flavour. Grill the chicken strips with pineapple rings until cooked, or when the grill marks appear on the skin.
Put the meat together with Romaine or green leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocadoes and red onion. Whisk Teriyaki sauce, apple cider or rice vinegar, olive oil and pineapple juice for the dressing. Put these all together in a bowl, and finish off with a garnish of cilantro and sesame seeds.
Seafood like shrimp is another meat option you can include in your healthy salad recipes. Introduce something new to your diners through this dish that features a Cajun flavor profile. Sautee shrimp, Cajun spice, garlic and salt in unsalted butter. While that’s cooking, prepare the dressing by mixing lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro salt and pepper.
Toss romaine lettuce, cucumbers, avocado slices, tomatoes, red onion and corn kernels or corns on the cob, drizzle the dressing and add in the shrimp, and the dish is ready to serve.
To cater to your customers who are craving for a healthy Filipino salad, you can introduce ensaladang talong, or eggplant salad. This can be served as a side dish that goes well with grilled or fried dishes, or on its own as an appetizer.
Grill eggplant or cook directly on top of the stove, which is the way it’s done in most Filipino homes. The former method is quicker and can give a smokier or charred taste. Peel the skin and mash the eggplant afterwards, and mix in white vinegar, tomatoes, onions, shrimp paste (bagoong), salt and pepper. Give it a kick of sourness by adding green mangoes too.
Salted egg is a popular food item and its flavor continues to appeal to more food enthusiasts. It’s also a great addition to Filipino salads. After boiling winged beans (sigarilyas) and blanching okra, add strips of green Indian mango and sliced salted duck eggs.
Instead of a dressing, offer a dipping sauce made of water, anchovy paste, calamansi juice and chilli pepper (siling labuyo) for that hint of spice.
Give your diners the feeling of lazy summer days at the beach with fruit salads. Use colorful fruit and those that won’t turn brown quickly. You can put together slices of pineapple, mango, raspberries, strawberries, coconut, papaya, oranges, kiwi and grapes. Then whisk honey and lime juice before drizzling it over the fruit bowl. For the finishing touch, add mint sprigs or lime slices as the garnish.
Watermelon is a versatile fruit that works well in a refreshing fruit salad. Pair it with apples, bananas, strawberries, red or green grapes, cantaloupe, pears and oranges. For the glaze, it’s recommended to go simple as to not overpower the flavors of the fruits by whisking honey, lemon and orange juice.
Whether your salad has fruits or vegetables in your salad recipes, you must use only the freshest produce, and if possible, organic varieties. The best salads that will have your customers keep coming back for more are ones that are not just healthy, but fresh and delicious as well.