While the word "salad" may immediately bring to mind visions of veggies, the staple side plate often encompasses much more than your basic lettuce and tomato. From creamy potato salads to zesty pasta salads, there's really no limit to how creative you can get when defining the dish on your own dinner menu, or when it comes to choosing your core components. Of course, any good salad features a blend of textures and flavors. You may love pairing juicy vegetables and tender meats with a crispy sprinkling of croutons, but if you're looking to get a little creative with your crunchy ingredients the next time you whip up a salad, we suggest adding in some popcorn.
It may sound like a surprising choice for a garnish, but the puffy popped kernels work well to provide the perfect crunch to your dish, along with a hearty serving of filling whole grains. Simply put, the crispy kernels can become your new favorite alternative to croutons or cheese crisps. And since you can usually find a variety of seasoned popcorn selections on your local grocery shelves (or very easily make your own), the ingredient also opens up a whole new world of potential when it comes to incorporating different flavors into your salad.
Switch Up Your Popcorn Seasonings To Flavor Your Salad
The unique mouthfeel may be enough of a reason to try popcorn in your salad, but the fact that its mild, natural taste serves as an ideal vehicle for different seasonings makes it an especially versatile ingredient that does more than just add crispness to your creation.
If you love your typical movie theater-style popcorn, soaked in salt and butter, you can feel free to sprinkle it into your salad bowl as a salty and savory contrast to the fresh vegetables and zesty dressing. It creates a wonderfully unexpected blend of flavor and texture, which you can try for yourself at your next dine-in movie viewing -- or at-home entertainment room.
Looking for a spicy kick? Incorporate some chile pepper-coated popcorn into the mix. Craving some cheesiness? Opt for a version covered in sharp cheddar powder. From garlic powder to truffle oil to tangy lemon juice, there are so many ways to season your popcorn so it provides a delightfully flavorful bite that complements all of your other salad ingredients. The next time you toss up a salad, pop open a store-bought bag or microwave a fresh batch to add your own popcorn seasonings, and the ingredient will elevate even your most basic salad recipe without much effort on your part. Better yet, you don't even need a movie ticket.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.