Salad is not boring

close up of happy family cooking salad in kitchenEven though it’s still November, with hot weather well and truly here mums everywhere are trying to convince their families that salad is not boring. Cooking in the heat becomes a real chore and salads take priority – if for no other reason than to keep the kitchen cool.

Most people have a “fall back” salad that consists of lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a choice of a few other vegies. This is great and the salad can be treated with flexibility ie whatever is in the fridge. Over time, though, if you don’t get inventive the basic salad can become quite boring.

There are many websites dedicated to recipes, but if you’re trying to lose weight it can be hard to tell which recipes will suit the weight loss strategy you’re following. Here are five recipes to kick-start your summer food preparation.

Salad with creamy garlic vinaigrette – Serves 4

  • 4 cups lettuce
  • ½ cup red cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced

Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Place dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar, seal, and shake well to combine.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently.

Asian salad – Serves 6

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 baby cos lettuce
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup beansprouts
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts (optional)
  1. Place oil and lime juice in a screw-top jar with salt and pepper and shake well.
  2. Wash and spin the lettuce, and roughly chop.
  3. Place the lettuce, carrot, spring onions, beansprouts, mint, coriander and chilli in a bowl and toss.
  4. Add dressing and sprinkle with peanuts (if using).

Mediterranean salad – Serves 4

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, quartered lengthways and diced
  • 400g can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow capsicum, diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 60g feta, crumbled
  1. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, butter beans, onion, capsicum, mint, parsley and olives in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Pour over the salad and gently toss to coat.
  3. Crumble the feta over the top of the salad and serve.

Fig salad – Serves 2

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • ground black pepper
  • 4 large handfuls mixed baby salad leaves
  • 4 fresh figs, quartered
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
  1. Combine the lemon juice, oil and hot water in a screw-top jar and shake to combine. Season with the pepper.
  2. Place the salad leaves in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.
  3. Arrange the dressed leaves on a large platter and top with the figs and pine nuts.

Broccoli and bacon salad – Serves 6

  • 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into small florets and stems finely sliced
  • 6 rashers bacon, finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives, finely chopped (if the bunch has flowers, these can be added to the salad at the end)

Dressing

  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Blanch the broccoli for 1 minute in boiling salted water. Drain and spread to dry on a tea towel. Once completely dry, transfer to a serving dish.
  2. Fry the bacon in olive oil over medium heat until crisp and golden, then spoon the bacon over the broccoli. Reserve the left-over fat to include in the dressing if you like.
  3. Combine the garlic, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and bacon fat if using in a bowl and whisk.
  4. Add the tomatoes and chives to the broccoli and bacon. Pour the dressing over the top and toss well, and season to taste.

This is good with diced or crumbled feta tossed through.

Give these a try and see if you can shake up your summer salad routines.

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