Nourish your inner goddess and feast on summer salads with substance. There’s no better way to get your five-a-day and lose weight than with a vibrant salad composed of more than just leaves. Simple salads are also a great way of eating seasonally and exploring a whole new world of different fruit and veggie combinations. Try to think of as many different ways to pack flavor into your salad. You could marinate chicken, prawns or vegetables in soy sauce and honey, or whisk spices like ground cumin or sumac (they should be in the world food section of your supermarket) into olive oil for a marinade with a taste of the Middle East. Grill to perfection then toss in baby spinach and sesame seeds for a robust lunch or light dinner that packs a punch as well as helping you to lose weight.
Three ways with salad
Veggies needn’t miss out. Swap meat or fish for tangy goats cheese with toasted pine nuts.
Don’t let fruit be an afterthought. Try a Thai-style salad with shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, chilli, fish sauce and roasted peanuts.
Play with different grains. You can find bulgur wheat, quinoa and faro in your local supermarket. Boil them in veggie or chicken stock and use them in place of pasta or couscous. What’s best is that they’re cheap and packet with nutrients.
Q. I love cooking with fresh beetroot but it always bleeds color all over my hands clothes and worktop. Should it be this messy? What am I doing wrong?
A. Fresh beetroot is delicious roasted, steamed or boiled. The trick is keeping in all of that beautiful colour and flavor is to keep the skin on while cooking. Once tender, you can pop on a pair of clean rubber gloves and peel them without looking like you’ve had a punch-up with a bottle of Ribena.
Moroccan potato salad
-tender potatoes, fresh olives, cucumber and toasted cumin tossed in a silky honey and mustard dressing. It’s safe to say this Moroccan delight is an altogether different league of potato salads.
Level: Easy Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 20 mins Serves: 4
For the dressing:
1tsbp of Dijon mustard
100ml of honey
3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
Juice and zest of one lemon
250ml of olive oil
For the salad:
60g of black olives
60g green olives
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, seeds removed and sliced into strips
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
40g of pine nuts, toasted
1 handful of coriander, chopped
1 handful of parsley, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1tbsp of toasted and ground cumin
2 red potatoes, boiled peeled and sliced
100g bag of mixed leaf salad
• For the dressing, mix all the ingredients together well and allow to infuse. For the salad, mix the olives, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and pine nuts together. Toss half of the dressing through the salad ingredients. Toss the herbs, lemon juice and zest and cumin with the potatoes.
• Spread half the mixed leaf salad on a serving platter followed by a layer of potatoes and a layer of the salad ingredients. Continue until you’ve used up all the ingredients.
• Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve with crusty toasted ciabatta.
Are you a salad fan?