Recipe Review

I Made Bella Hadid’s Favorite Salad and It Melted My Grumpy Gen X Heart

published Nov 12, 2022
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Credit: Nina Elder

Generally speaking, I’d describe myself as skeptical. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m from Missouri (the Show-Me state) or because I’m a member of Gen X or just because I’m me, but I’m usually pretty wary of trends.

Considering all of that, how did I find myself in my kitchen making supermodel (and RHOBH progeny) Bella Hadid’s viral salad? I have one word (or two words squished together) for you: TikTok.

I’d seen the salad cross through my feed this past spring and noted it, but then so many other things happened — viral cinnamon rolls, Jennifer Aniston retracting her favorite salad, people making “Diet Coke” out of bubbly water and vinegar — and the salad flew right out of my mind. And then the Bella Hadid audio started trending, which brought the salad back into my life (and my TikTok feed). I took another look, realized I had everything I needed to make it, and thought, “Why the hell not?”

How to Make Bella Hadid’s Favorite Salad

This recipe is super simple. Grab a large bowl (then put it back and get one that’s bigger) and throw in some baby arugula, sliced mini cucumber rounds, thinly sliced red bell pepper, some roughly chopped chunks from a wedge of Parm, and a sliced avocado. For extra points, mound the veggies and cheese on top of the arugula in orderly piles.

Squeeze half a lemon over everything, followed by some salt, what seems like maybe an aggressively generous amount of balsamic glaze, and some olive oil (which doesn’t appear in the video, but Bella notes in the caption). Toss it all together and dig in.

Credit: Nina Elder

My Honest Thoughts About Bella Hadid’s Favorite Salad

Y’all! I liked it. I truly liked it! The peppery arugula is the perfect base for the crunchy cucumbers and strips of sweet pepper. The lemon adds a nice freshness, and I was reminded about how much I like irregular chunks of Parm in a salad. It’s fun to use your knife to create them and it adds a nice mix of textures to the salad. And, as Bella promised, the avocado did break down as you made the salad, creating a creamy dressing.

I will admit that I was definitely wary of the balsamic glaze, a skepticism I come by honestly because of the overuse of the sticky, sweet ingredient at restaurants in the ’90s and early aughts. Because of that, I went a bit lighter than Bella did, but it added just enough sweetness and a little heft to the salad and the arugula was assertive enough to balance everything out.

Does this mean that I’m going to start making every trending recipe I see on TikTok? Probably not. But it does mean that I have a solid, satisfying salad to add to my WFH recipe playlist, so I’d call that a win.