Interesting salads – how do you make them? Sounds like a simple question doesn’t it? Have a little think though, there’s a big difference between the iceberg/quartered tomato/cubed cheese salads I grew up on in the 80s to the witlof/pear/blue cheese salads you see on restaurant menus! When you cut gluten and most grains out of your diet like I do, salads become a mainstay of at least 2 meals a day for me, so I’d go crazy if I ate the same salad every day, as would you! Like you though, I am a creature of habit and I tend to buy more or less the same selection of vegetables and fruits each week, so I need to mix things up occasionally with a new vegetable, a new style of cutting the veggie or mixing it with hot and cold ingredients.
Today, I’d love to share with you my basic approach to making a salad and a dressing.
Steps to Quick, Easy and Interesting Salads!
1. Choose your greens
Leafy greens form the basis of most of my salads. I like to go to my local organc markets for s broader range of typs of chard and kale, but mix it up depending on what you can find. Often my salad base is just handfuls of baby spinach from the supermarket! The key with kale/larger leafy greens is to prep it well (check out my video on how to prepare kale) and chop them finely. You can also use the stems of silverbeet and rainbow chard, just chop them finely.
2. Add some colour
For me a salad has to have a lot of colour, I’m not as keen on a ‘green salad’. Some of my favourite ways to add colour are to use:
- purple cabbage
- sweet potato
- fruit eg in summer I love stone fruit in my salads, or grapes or even watermelon
3. Change how to cut your vegetables
It’s amazing how something as simple as changing carrot rounds into strips or grating your zucchini can be to making your salads interesting. I love to use my vegetable peelers – especially the blue one for finely shredding cabbage & the green one for julienning or my spiraliser. They really make the different shapes and textures of the salad more appealing. The kids love helping when using them too! Using a mandolin can also help for finely slicing vegetables such as radish. Size and shape make a big difference!
4. Add texture
I love both something soft/smooth like avocado, feta, roasted sweet potato in my salads as well as crunch eg raw carrots/beets, nuts, seeds, buckinis, snow peas. I do add sweet potato a lot to my salads!!
5. Add dressing
I’m not very good at coming with up ‘recipes’ for salad dressings! This is often my approach to salad dressings… Use the left over oil from the feta, add some pesto, add some lemon juice, salt & pepper, stir and water down if wanting a thinner dressing.
Another thing I will often use for a salad dressing is an awesome cashew cheese available in health food stores by Kehoe’s Kitchen again watered down with some herbs and spices.
Probably the easiest and tastiest dressing base I’m using at the moment is Pumpkin seed oil (now available online from my friends Alex and Veronika from The Pumpkin House) and caramelised balasamic vinegar, just like in this video….
6. Enjoy your salad!
Here are some salads I’ve made to give you some inspiration. I often post photos like this on Instagram or Facebook to give you some ideas for salads!
This one has roasted beetroot and cauliflower and steamed broccoli.
Sprouts and roasted tomato
Nuts, seeds, shaved carrots and celery leaf pesto for texture…
Pan fried slivered sweet potato (peeled using the blue peeler)…. Shaved beetroot, cabbage, radish….