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Tired of the same old greens for lunch? Depth, texture, and nuance are what make a great salad more than the sum of its parts. Transform ho-hum salads into delicious dishes with these tips from Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi, restaurateurs and authors of Around the World in 100 Salads.

  1. Incorporate a variety of textures: chewy, soft, crunchy, wet, and dry.
  2. Add color with berries, grated carrot, tomatoes, or edible flowers.
  3. Get decadent with dips and sauces based on Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  4. Balance sweet and sour. Lemon will temper an excess of salt or sugar, while sweet ingredients like maple syrup will calm too much acid.
  5. Pair ingredients and dressing carefully. Delicate seafood might not work with a lot of heavy spice. (Looking for new flavors? Try these 12 recipes for homemade salad dressings.)
  6. Add heat with mustard, garlic, or chili.
  7. Transform a side salad into a main course by adding protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
  8. Avoid overseasoning. Wait until the cooked elements are prepared, the dressing made, and the veggies tossed before you add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Use sea salt (fine or coarse), and grind pepper in a mill for best flavor.
  10. Think in layers: Start with your base veggies or leaves, then add a layer of dressing, a layer of crunch (try seeds or nuts), a layer of “bite” (such as cheese, chili, or pickles), followed by another layer of veggies or leaves, and so on. This way you don’t have all the best bits at the top.

This originally appeared as a web extra online for “The World in a Salad” in the September 2017 print issue of Experience Life.

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