Tips from The Kitchn

Why You Should Build Your Salad Like a Plate of Nachos

Image Credit: Leela Cyd

We've shared a lot of tips about making better salads — from the best ways to store your greens, to how to dress your salad, to making your salad more satisfying. But one of the real keys to making a memorable and delicious salad is how it's assembled.

The order in which you add ingredients and dress your salad makes a difference. Just as you'd build a plate of nachos in layers, your salad follows the same formula.

Build your salad in layers, just like a plate of nachos.

Think about building your salad just as you would a plate of nachos: in layers. This goes for both how you add the ingredients, as well as seasoning and dressing the salad.

A good plate of nachos, and in this case, salad, needs a sturdy base; this is where the chips, errr, greens come in. You don't need to pile them high, but be sure they cover the plate. They'll support the rest of the good things to come.

Before going any further, lightly season and dress the greens. Forkfuls of plain lettuce are just like the naked chips at the bottom of the nacho pile — they're a lot better with some dressing. In the case of nachos, that's probably a lot of gooey cheese, but when it comes to salad, your vinaigrette will do just fine.

Then, lightly season and dress each group of ingredients before layering them on your salad.

Just like with nachos, let size and weight dictate the order of toppings. Build from bulky, heavier ingredients (like cucumbers, radishes, and squash) up to lighter, delicate ingredients (like crumbled cheese, avocado, and seeds) on top.

Sure, your salad might get tossed together eventually. Or not. That part is up to you. But there's no need to rely on that tossing to ensure the ingredients are evenly blended. Use this process of building your salad to make sure every layer is seasoned and dressed to perfection, with plenty of toppings to go with every forkful of greens.