Ingredient Intelligence

The One Thing You Should Be Adding to Your Salad

updated Jun 18, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

There’s nothing worse than building a beautiful salad only to find the first bite completely flavorless. Luckily one ingredient can save your bland salad. It’s an ingredient you add to just about everything else you cook, but is often forgotten on salads — one that’s so common, it’s probably hanging out on your kitchen counter as we speak. The game-changing ingredient I’m talking about? Salt. It can transform a dull, flavorless salad into something balanced and bright, and it can help elevate flavors so they shine. If your salad tastes bland despite having a ton of flavorful ingredients in it, it probably just needs some salt. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Faith Durand

How to Salt Your Salad Greens

Seasoning the base of your salad is the easiest way to make sure that every bite is delicious. After dressing your salad, give a piece of lettuce a taste. It shouldn’t taste salty — only balanced and flavorful. If it needs more salt, sprinkle some over the greens, trying your best to evenly distribute it over the entire salad. Gently toss the greens, then give it another taste and add more salt if necessary. Keep in mind that if your salad is only lightly dressed, the salt has a tendency to fall to the bottom of the bowl instead of sticking to the lettuce because it has nothing to cling onto. If this happens, keep tossing the salad until it dissolves before tasting it again.

But be careful — it’s easy to over-salt a salad. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take it away. So it’s better to add a little at a time and taste in between each addition rather than all at once.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

What Type of Salt to Use

Avoid using coarse salts (such as Maldon or any other flaky sea salt) when seasoning you salad greens. The crystals are too large and won’t dissolve. Instead use fine kosher salt or table salt. These types of salts are much finer and will dissolve into the dressing quicker. If all you have on hand is coarse kosher salt, try dissolving it in a tiny amount of dressing to help it dissolve quicker before adding it to your salad.

Read more: The 3 Kinds of Salt I Always Have in My Kitchen