MyPlate calls for folks to get more fruits and vegetables than what most people are currently eating. Most people will eat a salad once a day and can find it easy to prepare one even if they do not possess great cooking skills.
We have been experimenting in our own kitchen with making a salad the centerpiece of the meal each night. In fact, we serve the salad on the dinner plate and the dinner on the salad plate!
Here is a great idea for salad that you can make in a food demo to get folks more excited about salad.
Project: Salad platter:
Make a salad fancier and more enticing by putting it on a big platter. We made this one sort of in the fashion of an Italian Anti-Pasta Platter.
What you need:
- cutting board
- hand grater
- kitchen knife
- wet towel to secure cutting board
- paper towels
- plates, forks, napkins for tasting
- large pretty food platter
- bag of ready-to-serve lettuce
- bunch of parsley
- grape tomatoes
- red pepper
- red cranberries
- toasted almonds
- mild hot pepper (like Anaheim or Poblano)
- balsamic vinegar
- pepper mill or course grind black pepper
- dried oregano
Lessons: teach MyPlate serving sizes for veggies, importance of many colors of veggies, importance of blending flavors of hot, sweet, bitter, sour along with a variety of textures, how to make a fancier salad, how to eat more veggies.
Prep in advance:
wash all items and dry and store in refrigerator or cooler with ice pack; peel carrots
Introduction: Ask the audience if they know how many vegetables they should be eating in a day? The answer is about 2.5 cups for most people as guided in MyPlate. Then ask if they know what a serving is? The answer is a cup is a cup except for lettuce. A cup of canned, cooked, raw, chopped, juice or raw veggies is a cup. But it takes 2 cups of raw leafy greens like lettuce to make a cup. The good news is that you can get almost the whole serving in a salad and today we are here to get you more excited about making a delicious salad!
Ask for a helper from the audience - this makes your job more easy and makes it more fun for the audience. Explain that you have already rinsed/prewashed the vegetables. Make sure you and the helper wash your hands before you start and explain the importance to the audience, too.
1. Arrange the salad greens on the platter.
2. Chop the parsley and arrange on the outside of the lettuce.
3. Chop the cucumbers, peppers and hot pepper and sprinkle over the lettuce.
4. Grate the carrot over the top.
5. Sprinkle the grape tomatoes, cranberries, almonds, oregano and pepper on top.
6. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Explain that this salad will last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator so it makes sense to make a big one. (Longer storage occurs when there is no dressing or vinegar.)
7. Serve with balsamic vinegar or a variety of flavored vinegars. Vinegar was shown in one study to help lower appetite and blood sugar -plus it is naturally free of fat and sodium, unlike dressings.
8. It is great if you can make a large dinner plate of salad so they can see the point of putting salad on the dinner plate and dinner on the salad plate. Vinegar goes on last.
9. Serve up your masterpiece for the class! Accept questions at the end.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.