Say goodbye to so-so salads.

Lucy M. Clark
August 07, 2020
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Johnny Autry

At EatingWell, we enjoy a good salad, especially one that’s full of healthy greens and a yummy dressing. And while there are endless combinations you could try, we love pairing Mediterranean-inspired ingredients together to create a delicious, lunch-worthy combination. Check out these four, easy add-ins that will instantly transform your salad, and try them all together in our Bitter Greens Salad with Soppressata & Pecorino recipe.

The Add-Ins

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano has a tangier, saltier taste than Parmesan, so just a couple of ounces of this Italian sheep’s milk cheese is enough to provide the salad with plenty of nutty, sharp flavor. This means you can use less cheese and save on both calories and sodium. Look for Pecorino Romano that is aged 8 months or more—when it’s firm enough to shave and has a more concentrated taste.

Dried Oregano

We toast this herb for a minute in a dry skillet because the heat draws out flavor, making it deeper and more complex. It really makes a difference in the vinaigrette, so don’t skip this step! You may spot various types of dried oregano at your market: Mexican oregano tastes more citrusy than Mediterranean oreganos, which may be labeled “Sicilian,” “Greek” or just simply “oregano.” (Try dried oregano in our Antipasto Salad.)

Soppressata

The heat of this slightly spicy, dry-cured Italian pork sausage pairs especially well with the sweetness of this salad’s marinated cherry peppers. Soppressata also has a more savory flavor than other types of salami thanks to larger pieces of fat. You can readily find it presliced at well-stocked grocery stores, but for the freshest flavor look for a whole one in its casing.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

As opposed to olive oils labeled “light” or “pure”—refined by chemicals and heat, resulting in a more neutral taste—choose “extra-virgin.” EVOO is made using only mechanical methods of crushing and pressing olives. This gives it a green hue, fresh olive smell and flavor that varies based on olive variety and growing conditions. It also retains beneficial phytochemicals that are destroyed in refined oils. (Try EVOO in our Olive Orange Vinaigrette.)

This story originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine September 2020.