Bland Salad, How would you have fixed it?

Joined Nov 19, 2009

I made a salad tonight that had cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and fresh mint. The dressing was: yogurt, fresh mint, cucumber and honey all pureed together. It looked beautiful -the green and red and specs of mint...but it was bland and lacking in flavor.

So what would you have done to make it more delicious is my first question. My next question is, Ive got a lot of the dressing left over, is there anything I can add to give it more flavor? What about mustard?
Joined May 26, 2001
A little salt, a little pepper.

No, I'm not kidding. It could be that simple. Salt brings out the flavor in other foods, and pepper always adds a nice little zing.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Agree about salt and pepper as well. With anything savory, always, always, always.

A salt alternative that works very well in salads is minced or mashed anchovy. No, it doesn't taste "fishy," it's salt with "fundament," and it will add roundness, bottom and that certain j'nais c'est quois. No kidding. A couple of mashed fillets is about right for four servings. You can use it with or instead of salt. They're not mutually exclusive. In the case of your salad, I'd lightly salt the vegetables; and use mix mashed anchovies into the yogurt to make the dressing -- then grind a turn or two of fresh pepper over the top.

Also, that particular salad cries out for some sort of onion -- minced red onion, minced shallot, scallion tops, chives, garlic chives, Mexican onion tops, or... Can't you hear it?

Shhhh. Listen closely. ["An onion, an onion. For the love of God, an onion."]

There you go,
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Yeah, all of the above. Plus, if you still need to kick it up, dry roast then grind a little cumin seed and mix it into the dressing.

I especially second BDL's suggestion of anchovy. Many of us older types tend to eschew anchovies---perhaps rememberance of those whole filets dotting the pizza (ugh). But it's an incredible addition to many dishes. As he points out, anchovy is a salt element, not a fish flavor. It is, indeed, what gives Worchestershire Sauce (and, for that matter, Ceasar Salad) its special flavor.

One other thing, regarding your use of cucumber in the dressing. If, as appears, you didn't salt and drain the cukes first, the dressing is likely to be on the watery side this morning.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
Totally agree on all the above. When I use fresh mint, I like to add a wee bit of dried too. Even a teeny weeny dash of mint sauce can lift it.
Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi LeChefette.

For the dressing, how about adding a little bit of lemon juice (and a bit of zest), olive oil, salt (or anchovy) and pepper.

You can also take your cucumber, tomato, avocado and fresh mint...add some red onion, salt and pepper to the mixture and use this to top some baby spinach. then dress.

Joined Sep 5, 2008
Lots of salt on the cucumbers, let them rest and drain the water. Marinate the avocado in lime or lemon, and freshly finely ground black pepper.
Joined Jul 3, 2009
Maybe some type of cheese? Feta crumbles, shaved parmesan, goat cheese. Everything's better with a little cheese.
Joined Sep 29, 2009
Non-pareil capers would bring some salt and zing to the party. You could also drain the yogurt, mint included, until it is the consistency of feta and break it over the salad when serving to add a little more of the mint flavor to the party.

In case you didn't know, you'll need a pot, a sieve, a cheese cloth, and something heavy and small. let it drain in the fridge over night and then add weight for another few hours to press out the remaining excess moisture until you get the consistency that you want.
Joined Dec 7, 2005
Put my vote on some sort of onion as well. How about something crunchier? Peanuts? Pine nuts? Pepitas?
Joined Dec 23, 2000
You could also drain the yogurt, mint included, until it is the consistency of feta

That's a technique I've been using for years, thanks to the Frugal Gourmet of (sort of) revered memory. To make the process a little simpler, you can use a paper towel to line the strainer, instead of cheesecloth. Works just as well.

Mike :smokin
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I agree with a lot of what was said above salt, a vinegar or acidic punch, minced anchovies or capers were my first thought. Also try drinking a Mojito with the dish, a separate component can make a meal seem more rounded:thumb:
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