Back in salad’s pre-trendy days, it consisted of a few sliced leaves of iceberg lettuce, a crouton or two and some dressing. These days, salads can (and usually do) include a variety of ingredients, like grains, greens, roasted vegetables and animal or plant proteins. Ingredients are no longer served only chilled and raw, but can often be pre-cooked and added warm or hot. Preparations for individual ingredients can include pickling, smoking, charring, crisping and roasting.
With salads now often the main event of a meal, not an afterthought, diners want to order a dish that will be hearty and satisfying. And if there’s one word that’s making an impact on every dish and daypart, it’s “protein.” Diners are increasingly interested in ways to amp up the protein content of the foods they’re eating. They seek out this power nutrient as a way to feel fuller longer, stabilize blood sugar levels and boost energy. Along with that comes a heightened interest in healthier, more sustainable choices like the plant protein found in beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains.
If you’re interested in ways to incorporate more plant protein into your salads, consider mixing and matching bean purees into the Marzetti® dressings you already have in stock. Not only are they newly trendy, but beans are shelf-stable and much more cost-effective than animal protein.
Here’s how to get started. First, whirl together one part rinsed and drained canned beans in a coupe or food processor until it is smooth and silky. Then, depending on the texture of dressing or sauce you desire, add two to three parts of Marzetti salad dressing and blend. Here are some mix-and-match suggestions that will add protein-forward flavor and texture to your main dish salads.
Voila! Now you’ve got a whole new plant-protein dressing. It will taste like a “secret ingredient,” but it’s really just a clever combination that adds flavor, texture and heartiness to any entrée salad on your menu.
T. Marzetti™ tip
Marzetti Simply Dressed® dressings provide imaginative, healthy flavor and bring classic salads up-to-date. Available in 2/1 gallon, these refrigerated dressings are made without MSG, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors or gluten. Options include Lemon Vinaigrette, Creamy Balsamic, Blue Cheese, Ranch, Caesar or Italian.