Why You Should Consider Mixing Salad With Your Hands

Despite their deceptively simple appearance, salads are actually difficult to make just right. Because a good salad relies on a balanced flavor and fresh texture, one wrong move can throw off the entire dish. Too much dressing, for example, can lead to a soggy, wilted salad, while adding certain components at the wrong time can damage the dish's more delicate ingredients.

Luckily, there's one simple trick that can vastly increase the chances that your salad will turn out perfectly balanced. All you need to do is toss aside your salad tongs and use your hands instead.

At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive. After all, weren't salad tongs made for this exact purpose? However, there's a good reason to cast them aside. As Food52 reports, salad tongs are too aggressive for most types of lettuce — especially fragile greens like baby kale. Going overboard with the tongs — which is all too easy to do — will result in leaves that are bruised, torn, wilted, and, ultimately, unappetizing.

Why hands are better than tongs for dressing salads

According to Bon Appétit, the best salads will have a fresh and light consistency. As such, it's important to handle them carefully. Using your hands allows you to dress salads more gently and distribute their components more evenly.

Mixing salads with your hands has another advantage. Per Food52, you can use your sense of touch to figure out if your salad needs more dressing or if it's just right. With tongs, it's much more difficult to gauge how dressed your greens are, meaning you're much more likely to end up with an overdressed, unevenly dressed, or too dry of a salad. With your hands, it's easier to determine whether or not your greens are evenly coated.

In the case of salads made with heartier greens (like kale or mature spinach), mixing with your hands can still prove beneficial. According to Food52, massaging some dressing into the tough leaves can help tenderize them, resulting in an overall more pleasant eating experience.