Sam’s Tip of the Season: Create Showstopper Salads
How many salads have you eaten already this year?
I’ve eaten so many I’ve lost count! When I was growing up, our salads consisted of flat lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and a boiled egg – once a week, every week for the whole summer! It’s easy to get a bit bored of salad if they’re all the same. Maybe that’s why I make such an effort with my salad these days. Here are my favourite ways to build showstopper salads…
Pack in the protein
Ready flavoured tofu pieces. Most can be eaten cold or warmed through in a pan ready to add to salad just before serving.
Roasted chickpeas or butterbeans. Toss the beans in a little oil and season with your favourite spice blend. Roast in an oven for 10 mins. Add to salad warm or allow to cool and toss them through.
Toasted nuts and seeds. A super easy way to add in last minute protein to a salad. Toast your favourite nuts and seeds in a dry frying pan for 4-5 minutes until warm and starting to brown. Toasting intensifies the nutty flavours and makes nuts and seeds crisper.
Cheese is great to add protein to salad, and tasty too! To avoid adding a high amount of fat into your salad, choose stronger or salty cheeses and use in moderation.
Dressing. Include nut butters in tasty, creamy dressing to get in extra protein grams. Try mixing a teaspoon of softened peanut butter with a little sweet chilli sauce, lemon juice and white wine
vinegar for a super quick Thai-style dressing.
Think about texture
Mix it up with raw and cooked veggies. Next time you have your oven on, chop up any leftover veg you have and roast for salads later in the week. Add raw shredded cabbage or grated carrot for
crunch, sweet potato and celeriac are great raw too.
Add a crispy topper. Use stale bread to make crunchy croutons, add Bombay mix or sev noodles,
crisp 2 tablespoons of cooked quinoa in a dry frying pan and sprinkle away!
Chop vegetables in different ways. Mix grated veg, roughly torn leaves, finely diced salad vegetables or mooli matchsticks, to keep things interesting.
Create an Instagram-ready salad bowl by serving three to four types of salad in sections to form one tasty bowl of goodness!
Top leafy salads with warm ingredients to create interest in the same way as mixing textures.
Dress to impress
Salad dressings add an extra dimension to salads. They are an incredibly easy way to liven up the simplest salad.
Use the smallest amount of dressing. It’s there to complement the salad, not hide it!
Toss your salad in the dressing to get the most out of it before serving, rather than drizzling on at the end.
Make a last-minute store cupboard dressing by combining equal parts extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and a smidge of Dijon mustard. Tasty, light, and classic!
Waste not, want not
Only dress the amount of salad you are going to eat. Leftovers will keep much longer when not dressed.
Use up leftover soft herbs in salad. If you’re lucky enough to grow herbs or have left over from a meal, they make a tasty addition to any salad. Simply tear in just before serving. Or whizz them up in a blender with a little oil and vinegar for a super green dressing.
Buy whole heads of lettuce rather than bags. They will last much longer when kept in the fridge.
Almost all vegetables can be used in some way as a salad. A finely chopped salad is the perfect way to use up small amounts of veg offcuts from other meals. If you prefer cooked veg, simply cook them lightly before chopping.
Try this recipe for Turkish ezme. It’s a cross between a salad, salsa, and dip. It’s a delicious way to utilise leftover herbs and salad vegetables
• 2 large salad tomatoes, finely diced
• ½ medium onion, finely diced
• ½ red pepper, finely diced
• 2 green pickled mild chilli peppers, finely diced
• 3 large sprigs parsley, finely chopped
• 1 sprig mint, finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
• 1 tsp tomato puree
• 1 tsp sumac
• ½ tsp Aleppo pepper flakes
• Salt and pepper, to season
1. In a large bowl, mix the tomato, onion, red pepper, green chilli, parsley, mint, and garlic.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Pour the oil and spice mix over the tomato mix and stir well. Season to taste. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
3. Serve or refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.
Preparation: 15 mins, plus 30 mins resting time