By: Soha Darweesh
Summer is on the doorstep with its long days and nights – and all sorts of parties; beach party, dish party, barbeque party, how about a reunion party?-and the list goes on.
Through it all, I see the salad bowl a prominent guest in all those scenes. I’m pretty sure that by now we all developed our signature takes on various salads; however, we never get tired of venturing into the new trends.
Before we crack on with the recipes, I thought of sharing a few helpful tips when assembling your salad:
- Do not complicate dressings, always the simplest and highest quality ingredients go very far. There is nothing more glorious than a drizzle of good old extra virgin oil with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt.
- Mushrooms: If you want to add mushrooms to your salad, then either sauté, steam or grill them first. Please refrain from using them raw. I’ve been seeing raw mushrooms in salads lately and I still can’t get my head around it, no pleasure in that at all!
- The consistency of the dressing should match the chosen leaves, for example heavy creamy dressing should pair up with robust leaves to withhold it and vice versa.
- When serving, layer it up; leaves at the base, proteins then toppings with dressing drizzled lightly to avoid turning it soggy. Mix only when you serve your first guest.
Now that I’ve got you covered for the whole summer, here are four mouth-watering salad recipes that you’ll struggle to pick your favourite from!
Super Salad: Serves 4
This is a textbook super food salad; the Tahini dressing here elevates the flavours bringing a nutty creaminess to your palate.
150g chopped Kale– 200g roasted pumpkin cubes – 2 handfuls of toasted walnuts – 50g goji berries or pomegranate seeds – 150g cooked tri-colour quinoa -200g blanched broccolini (baby broccoli with long stalks, you can also use regular broccoli) – handful pumpkin seeds.
1 ½ tbsp Tahini – 2 tbsp water – 1 tbsp white vinegar – 1 tbsp lemon juice – pinch of cayenne pepper – ½ tsp Sumac –
a splash of pomegranate molasses – 3 drizzles extra virgin olive oil – salt and pepper.
Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad: Serves 2
This is always my speedy salad when I come home famished. Smoked salmon can be replaced by grilled chicken or prawns. I love the simplicity of the ingredients, different textures and the big flavours they deliver.
100g smoked salmon strips – 1 thinly sliced avocado – ½ cup cooked white quinoa – 100g rocket leaves (rucola) – 50g grated or shavings of Parmesan cheese – 1 tbsp chia seeds – a handful of roasted almonds.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp lemon juice – pinch of salt.
Roasted Beetroot & Feta Salad: Serves 4
Beetroot is on the rise these days, why not? Its earthy sweetness complements many ingredients, plus it’s rightly proclaimed as a super food. I am in love with the contrast in flavours between the beets, Feta cheese and hazelnuts – Yum!
150g mixed leaves – 2 roasted beetroots, cut into cubes – 100g Feta cheese cubes – a handful of roasted hazelnuts.
Drizzles of extra virgin olive oil – splash of balsamic vinegar – pinch of salt.
The Ultimate Noodle Salad:
I can’t really say that this a trendy choice or even a proper salad, but I know this flavoursome oriental combination has something for everyone.
250g soaked and drained glass noodles – 200g grilled chicken strips – 250g medium prawns, cooked – 100g steamed or grilled mushrooms, sliced – 1 large carrot, matchsticks cut – 50g beansprouts – 2 spring onions, finely chopped – 1 finely chopped red chili – a handful of sesame seeds – handful of chopped fresh coriander & mint leaves – handful of roasted cashews.
¼ cup Soy sauce – 1 tsp Thai fish sauce (optional) – 1 tsp grated fresh ginger -2 tbsp lime juice – 1 minced garlic clove – 2 tbsp sesame oil – 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar.