When I discuss meal options with people and come onto Salads I am usually greeted by the familiar ‘oh please don’t tell me to eat salad’…..
I get it. The way most of us think of salads, I’m not sure I would be thrilled at the thought of eating many; limp green leaves with a few chopped tomatoes, a bit of cucumber, some celery and for the adventurous few, some sliced beetroot. It doesn’t have to be like this!! I promise.
I would suggest that you rethink the humble salad and I hope I am about to re-inspire you.
You see salads can be fantastic. Salads just need a little help and you need to view them as you would a ‘meal’ and think about combining the elements that you would in a meal. So think about carbohydrates, protein and salad/veg. This is your base and you can then add in the final extras to season.
So here is a quick DIY guide to creating substantial and delicious salads…remember these are meals in themselves not side dishes!
Choose from one of these carbohydrate options:
Couscous – preferably wholemeal
Giant cous cous
Now pick one of the following protein options
cold sliced chicken breast
cold cooked salmon fillet
Smoked mackerel fillet
tin of tuna in spring water
1/2 can of butter beans
Now you have the substantial bit now pad it out with some delicious salad or veggies – here are some ideas
Lettuce leaves – try to experiment with some different varieties to keep it interesting
carrot strips – do strips with a vegetable peeler which not only look beautiful but they are super easy and fast
Leftover roast vegetables – anything goes!
Now be adventurous with fruit – yes fruit – try pear, peach, mango or grated apple and grated carrot go well together
sprouts – alfalfa, been sprouts, any sprouts – just try them out, they are so good for you and add texture and taste to all salads
Toppings – I always like to add some sprinkles to finish it off and my favourite is to do a big batch of toasted seeds. Simply toast a mixture of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds in a pan until they go golden, take off the heat and sprinkle with a little soy sauce. Leave to dry and store in an airtight jar!
Ok and now the last stage which is to just add the dressing and seasoning – the fun bit!
I love to make my own dressing and it really is SO simple and saves SO much money. Why not try a simple vinaigrette with 3 tbsp good quality olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. OR add in some wholegrain mustard and a teaspoon of honey to the oil and vinegar mix. Experiment with different herbs, adding yoghurt, balsamic vinegar….just have fun playing around. Some will be revolting but it is only by trying different combinations out that you discover what works and what doesn’t.
So have a go, experiment and see how much fun (and how delicious) salads can be.