First of all, apologies to anyone that finds a simple garden salad of tomato, cucumber and lettuce exciting. To me, it’s just such a cliché salad.We are coming into the warmer weather (I feel like I should say finally, but I complain when it’s too hot, so I won’t) which means salads seem to come back on the menu more. It’s likely because of the crisp/freshness of salad vegetables. Today I thought I would share with you six salads which I absolutely love. These salads are more than just vegetables, they include nuts and seeds, and legumes, and grains, and olive oil, and my favourite – herbs and spices. They have that little bit more substances
#1 – Grilled Zucchini, Pea & Mint salad.
Recipe source: Me
What’s in it: zucchini, peas, green beans, mint, spinach, feta, lemon zest & juice, olive oil
What I love: the combination of mint, lemon, feta and nuts makes these greens sing. So fresh.
Things to note: if you don’t like some of those greens, it’s not a big deal. Go with something you love. Asparagus, snow peas, broccoli, broccolini…. Recently I’ve been adding some cooked grains to the mix (for a bit more energy and fibre), freekeh and quinoa are my favourites for this salad. Rice (any type) and pearl barley are totally cool too. I like this with fish and roasted sweet potato chips, or with lamb or chicken.
#2 – Ancient Grain Salad
Recipe source: Hellenic Republic – George Calombaris (you may have eaten it as Jimmy Grants or Gazi..)
What’s in it: coriander, parsley, red onion, freekah, puy lentils, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pinenuts, capers, currants, lemon, olive oil, pomegranate, yoghurt, cumin, honey
What I love: everything. The flavours, the textures and the fact it’s a salad without really any vegetables.
Things to note: currants or cranberries, either is fine. Freekeh, quinoa or pearl barley, any is fine. If you don’t like capers, don’t use them. Pomegranates are totally annoying to remove the seeds, but it’s definitely a fresh, crisp welcome addition if you can be bothered. I use canned lentils, because easy. Serve with chicken or lamb. Win.
#3 – Roast Vegetable Bowl (including turmeric cauliflower)
Recipe source: For the turmeric cauliflower, go here. Otherwise, chop up your vegetables (pumpkin, capsicum, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potato, swede etc…), drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven. 180 degrees will do the trick.
Ingredients: vegetables of choice, protein of choice, carbs of choice and flavour toppers of choice.
What I love: This one can be very much your own, and different each day. It’s easy to make, keep in your fridge and it’s delicious. I find roast vegetables comforting.
Things to note: dressing ideas could be lemon infused olive oil, or a mix of lemon juice, olive oil & salt and pepper, or balsamic vinegar and wholegrain mustard. My go to protein source is definitely chicken, and I’d probably drizzle tahini over the top in that case. You can add in some cooked grains if you wish (this week I chose pearl barley). Throw over some flaked almonds, or some sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and feta is you wish.
#4 – Thai Beef Salad
Recipe source: We use this recipe for the sauce mainly, but it’s a good starting point.
What’s in it: Beef, lime, garlic, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, coriander, chilli, mint, thai basil + salad vegetables
What I love: it’s so fresh! I think the mint and toasted peanuts gets me over the line.
Things to note: I generally grab spinach, cucumber, carrot, tomato and capsicum for the salad. Use lots of mint. Toast the peanuts. We grab beef sizzle steak and slice it up into strips.
#5 – Roast Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
Recipe source: I used Lyndi Cohen’s as a guide.
What’s in it: Cauliflower, paprika, za’atar, olive oil, currants, parsley, red onion, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, tahini, lemon juice & garlic.
What I love: Tahini is the bomb. Roasted cauliflower is the bomb. Together, they are a big bomb.
Things to note: I used Mingle Seasoning’s Sahara spice, opted for cranberries instead of currants and threw in some mint. We had this with salmon and asparagus.
#6 – Orange & date salad
Recipe source: Healthy Food Guide Australia
What’s in it: oranges, dates, mint, cinnamon, olive oil, almonds, cous cous, green beans, asparagus, rocket
What I love: I think looking back on most of these salads, it’s always a combination of the fresh herbs and variety of textures in the salads. When you toast nuts, it takes food to a whole new level. This is really the only way I would eat an orange (given the effort and mess of peeling them, I would just choose another piece of fruit).
Things to note: asapargus = broccolini or sugar snap peas or just don’t use it; cous cous = what ever grain you please; rocket = spinach. This goes well with fish. I’ve also added pumpkin & feta or fresh ricotta before..
I guess making salads is a bit like life. We have a starting point of going to preschool, primary school and secondary school, and we all end up working. But what we choose to do, how we get there, the speed humps in the road, that’s all very different. There are plenty of recipes to make salads, but as you can see, it can be simple to change it up to meet you and your families taste buds. I say it often – we are very lucky to be living in a country (Australia) where we can choose between green beans, broccolini and asparagus, we don’t have to use rice, we can opt for pearl barley or quinoa or freekah.
And my final note, embrace herbs, spices and toasted nuts. Your food will change forever.
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