The Ingredient Hack That Adds A Fancy Touch To Any Salad

cheese cups with pomegranate
cheese cups with pomegranate -

Packed full of vegetables (and often fruits), salads are the easiest way to throw together a nutritious side dish any time of year. With recipes like pesto chicken and zucchini noodle salad, mandarin and rainbow radish salad, and roasted artichoke and white bean salad, these bowls can be as tasty as they are healthy. But let's face it, when it comes to serving your salad at a barbecue or holiday get-together, the mishmash of chopped produce typically doesn't make for the most aesthetically-pleasing dish.

And yet, there's an easy way you can present your fruits and veggies that will hold up at even the fanciest of gatherings. All you need is shredded cheese. When you form your cheese into rounds and cook them, you'll end up with easily moldable circles that you can form into cups. Then, to serve your salad, simply dump scoops in the cups. Not only do these cheesy bowls look like they took much longer to make than they did, but they're the perfect way to serve your salad as an appetizer, side, or finger food. And if you want to have even more fun with them, you can make a little salad bar where everyone can pile on their own toppings.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

One Ingredient Makes Crispy Cups In Three Ways

hands grating parmesan cheese
hands grating parmesan cheese - Repinanatoly/Getty Images

When considering the best cheeses to use for your baskets, choose a hard variety that grates and melts well. Parmesan is the go-to here, but you can also use Parmigiano Reggiano or cheddar. There are a few different ways to make your cups: in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave. For the former, sprinkle your cheese in three inch rounds on a lined baking sheet, then bake them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about five minutes and use a spatula to remove them. If you deploy the stovetop, heat the same size round on medium-low until you get golden, crispy edges. And if you want to use the microwave, nuke your circles on a parchment paper-lined plate for up to two minutes. Whichever method you choose, you'll want to shape your cup within 30 seconds of pulling it off the heat. Drape your round over an upside-down cup, bowl, or muffin tin, then let it cool until it stays in shape.

When your baskets are ready, the fun part begins: stuffing them with salad. Caesar salad is a common filling here, but you can also try a classic ham, mustard green, or springy pea salad. If you want to keep things simple, feel free to also fill your cups with a mix of arugula, lemon juice, pine nuts, and an easy vinaigrette. Your baskets will fill the fancy quota for this dish on their own.

Read the original article on Tasting Table