05 Jul How to make a salad interesting?
I absolutely love salad and it is so easy to make a salad interesting and completely delicious. You just have to forget the basic lettuce, tomato and cucumber and mix it up a bit. You can now get many different types of leaves from lettuce varieties to rocket, chard and kale. Here are the basics for getting an awesome salad:
- Choose your leaves: red cabbage, watercress, rocket, baby spinach, herbs etc or a mixture
- Add your sweet basics: tomatoes, peppers, red onion (roast for extra flavour) etc.
- Choose your protein: beans, cheese, meat, fish, egg etc.
- Add some crunch: pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, walnuts, crackers, croutons etc.
- Select something super: beetroot, radish, roasted squash or sweet potato, fennel etc.
- Add something special: sundried tomato, capers, artichoke etc.
- Season: black pepper
- Dress: see below
Always dress the salad just before you are going to eat it. Use your hands to mix in the dressing carefully so you do not wilt the leaves.
Dressings: my favourite basic dressings
Basic Salad Dressing – 5 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice, ground black pepper
Sweet Basic Salad Dressing – 5 parts olive oil, 1 part apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp of honey
Oriental Salad Dressing – 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp tamari (soya sauce), 2 tbsp sesame oil
Italian Salad Dressing – 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp of freshly chopped oregano or 1 tbsp of dried oregano
Here are some great combinations:
On a base of well washed leaves, even if you are using those straight from the bag:
- Tuna, mixed beans, orange segments, cashew nuts and French dressing
- Avocado, red grapefruit segments, grated ginger and caraway seeds
- Beans sprouts or alfalfa, sweet corn kernels, sliced mushrooms – raw or cooked and pine nuts and/or sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Apple, celery, walnut pieces and beans
- Beans, sweet corn kernels and green beans
- Avocado, smoked tofu and pineapple
- Beetroot, prunes, walnut pieces and lemon juice
- Cooked brown rice, beans, peas, sliced red onion and mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
- Cooked brown rice, grated carrot, chopped celery, sunflower seeds and sliced radish
- New potatoes, boiled egg, chicken and toasted almond flakes
- Shredded red cabbage, raisins, walnut pieces and a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and crumbled feta cheese
- Cooked peas, mint leaves, goats cheese and pumpkin seeds
- Grated carrot, sultanas and a splash of balsamic vinegar
- Prawns, sweet corn, sliced avocado and sesame seeds
You can add any of the following:
- lemon juice
- lime juice
- balsamic or apple cider vinegar (if you are not currently avoiding these)
- wholegrain or Dijon mustard
- pesto (red or green)
- grated or powered ginger or cinnamon
- paprika or cayenne pepper (go easy on this)
- fresh or dried herbs
- yoghurt, tamari or honey
These can be mixed directly in the bowl, or put them in a jar with a lid, give a vigorous shake and enjoy.
Boom!!! An awesome salad
Here’s a great salad recipe
Warm Chickpea Salad – Serves 4
- 1 red onion cut in to wedges
- 2 courgettes, thickly sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks
- 375g/130z ripe tomatoes halved
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- juice of ½ lemon
- 3 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (fresh)
- 2x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 100g/4oz feta cheese cut in to cubes
- pitta bread or alternative to serve
- Preheat the oven to 220c/Gas 7/200c fan oven
- Put the onion, courgettes, red pepper and tomato in to a roasting dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with black pepper. Roast for 30mins (this can be prepared the night before or when using the oven for other meals – keep roasted veg in the fridge)
- Mix together the lemon juice, remaining olive oil and herbs
- Tip the roasted veg in to a bowl and add the chickpeas, feta and the lemon dressing. Toss lightly and serve and with pitta bread
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