With Summer on the horizon, it’s time to relax in the garden with a glass of Pimms or a Shandy. During the warmer months salad is a great go to meal as it is light, easy and simple to make. But there’s only so much iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes a gal can take – sometimes, the only place you want to see your chunks of cucumber is in a G’n’T – not on a bed of pathetic rocket and limp lettuce. Clear your mind of the bland chicken breast and vinaigrette salads -it’s time to perk up your salads and give them a little TLC. Flavours and textures are one of the Kitchen’s best friends . Whether you’ve got your ingredients in your brand spanking new fitted kitchen, or you’ve got some new cooking utensils you’re desperate to try out, here are 10 ways to make friends with salad.
Say Yes to the Dress (ing)
Sure sure, sticking with the old faithful dressings adds a little taste to your lunch, but we don’t want taste. We want a salad with pizzaz. Put the olive oil and oh so basic vinegar to the back of your mind and kitchen cupboard and try a new and exciting dressing. If you’re looking for a vegan dressing then try a coconut-milk ranch dressing. An almond butter and garlic dressing could become your salad’s best friend. If you’re feeling really cheeky, then be adventurous and try a mediterranean style dressing with oregano…
Leave it out
Let go of the masses of green limp leaves that overtake your plate and swap it out for a different ‘base’ vegetable. From tomatoes to cucumber or peppers you can get rid of the icebergs and have a little bit of fun! Get creative and say goodbye to the never ending stream of spinach that seems to be forever stuck in your teeth.
Spiralise and Boodle!
Whilst there were some questionable choices made in 2016, the supermarket shelves were graced with one thing – spiralized fruit and veg. Swap out your pasta for courgetti (courgette in the shape of spaghetti) and your noodles for boodles (butternut squash in the form of noodles) – your Tuna Courgetti Salad has never looked or tasted so good, and inventions were never better.
Protein = Power
With all these so called power foods flooding the market, it can be difficult to even know where to begin. Edamame beans are a great source of protein, adding texture and colour to any dish. Pair these bad boys with mushrooms, chickpeas, salt and garlic and you’re in for a treat!
Mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, mustard, chilli and mint sauces are a few unsung heros of the salad world, adding texture and flavour to any meal. Sure, a few of the aforementioned dressings are a little high in their saturated fats, but they offer tastes like no other. No one’s ever going to be mad at a Chicken and BBQ salad for their lunch, or a Tofu Ranch and Mung Bean Salad for dinner…
Shake up your Attitude towards food.
No one likes looking at what they eat and making the correlation of diet and ill-health…. When you’re being told you can’t eat some of your favourite things and you have to change the tone towards food it is hard. However, think about how you feel after wolfing down your Avocado Smash and Crouton Salad instead of the deep pan pizza. Treat yourself to a few sweet treats a week and learn to moderate. Soon, you’ll find your attitude towards food has changed and you’ll want to spend time in the kitchen.
Beans Mean Lean!
Salad doesn’t mean you’re limited to the vegetable only category – after all, a healthy balance of food groups is the best way to have a healthy diet. Throw an assortment of beans into the mix! They are a soluble source of protein, fiber, iron, carbohydrates and so much more. Beans soak up flavours and are very filling as well.
Remember fruit salads? No, we don’t mean the delicious chewy sweet – we mean the bowl of fresh chopped up fruit that used to appear on every buffet! Whether you fancy a berry medley of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries or you want to try a watermelon and tofu combination, your tastebuds will enjoy the welcome change.
Get Some Gains with those Grains
From Quinoa to Couscous, grains are a perfect way to spice up a salad and make it more filling. Grains are an ancient ingredient and the fact that they have been around for centuries shouldn’t be ignored! An Avocado, Almond and Barley Salad could become one of your favourite dishes if you just gave it a chance.
Turn your Favourite Meal into a Salad!
If you’ve got a meal you just love then think about how you can replace certain food groups with fruit, veg and grains. Cauliflower rice is an amazing replacement for rice in a curry, and courgetti makes for a tasty spag bol. Cheese, sauce and meats taste great on a pizza, and could also make a tangy Italian Salad. Try it out, see what happens!