Archive for category Salads
It’s that glorious time of summer gluts from keen vegetable growers, everything arrives at once at the moment and in large quantities! This is less of a recipe and more of an idea. I was given a large bag of runner beans, I like runner beans but have never done anything with them other than boil or steam them. I dutifully blanched and froze some but still had a lot left so I steamed a few and dressed them simply with olive oil salt and pepper, they were delicious served immediately but I found I enjoyed them even more cold as a salad the next day, they are seriously good! I ate nothing but a bowl of these for lunch!
You will see there are no quantities, just use however many beans you have and dress to taste. This really is just an idea that worked so well I wanted to share it here. This keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, I prefer it a room temperature.
Runner Bean Salad
- runner beans, topped ,tailed and washed
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground pepper and sea salt
- Cut the runner beans to bite size pieces then steam until tender.
- Drizzle with olive oil, enough so that all the beans get a good coating.
- Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
- Eat right away or serve as a salad at room temperature.
I’ve joined the kale wagon here, forgive me. Kale is very “in” right now. Being low-calorie, high fibre, rich in vitamins and minerals makes kale one of the latest “superfoods” and kale salads have been popular for a while now, I even posted one here.
One of the first things to grow at my allotment this year has been kale, I hadn’t realised quite how prolific it would be and its only been big enough to pick for 2 weeks! Dont be surprised if there are a few kale recipes on here as it looks as if I’m in for a glut!
I really like kale and quite like the heartiness it provides in a salad. I am aware though that raw kale may not be to everyone’s liking as it can be a little chewy! So recently when I began reading about people “massaging” salad dressing into kale, (that does sound a little crazy, I know!) I was intrigued. You only have to look at kale after its been watered to see how those leaves repel any moisture, it’s actually quite beautiful with the water droplets making little silvery balls all over it. So its easy to see that any dressing in a kale salad wouldn’t really be absorbed without a little help. All you do is mix your dressing and rub it into the kale leaves, the kale darkens as it absorbs the dressing. I think a quick rub is all the kale needs as my intention is not to lose all of the texture of the kale but just to soften it a little so one’s jaw isnt aching by the end of the meal!
This is a really quick salad to prepare and provides a good healthy base for many accompaniments. I enjoy this salad with boiled egg or smoked mackerel, black olives also make a good addition.
In preparation for my kale glut please do leave any kale recipe ideas in the comments section!
Kale Salad (for 2 servings)
- 200 grams fresh kale leaves, washed
- 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 small onion or 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, grated
- Strip the kale from its stems and roughly chop, place in your salad bowl.
- Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until its well blended. Pour the dressing over the kale and rub it into the leaves, be quite firm using your thumbs and fingertips to “massage” the dressing in, stop after a couple of minutes or when the kale begins to darken.
- Add the onion and carrot to the kale, toss together. If not serving immediately chill until needed.
Another day, another salad! I admit to feeling a little lost once my Whole30 ended and after a weekend break from it I did another 20 days as my all or nothing personality can follow the rules of something as strict as the Whole30 but once off it goes completely the other way! I clearly did not get rid of my sugar demon in 30 days! I have found that Paleo food suits me and the rules keep me on the right track, maybe one day I will kick that sweet tooth! So its back to salads for lunch but I will admit that one can have their fill of leaves!
When doing the Whole30 avocado was on the list of foods to eat, such a treat! Wanting to make a leaf free salad for a change and finding a lonesome lime in the fridge led to this salsa-ish type of salad. Very un-salsa like I added a few mushrooms just to add a little meatiness, also just because I had them. I will admit it may have been a strange combination but I really enjoyed this salad, it was quick and easy to prepare and travels well to work in a Tupperware. It goes well with an omelette, prawns or chicken.
Avocado Salsa Salad
ingredients (makes 2 servings)
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 red onion, diced fairly small
- 1/2 chilli (add less if you don’t like too much heat), diced finely
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- cucumber about 4-5 inches, chopped
- 3 mushrooms (optional), chopped
- coriander leaves, just a few roughly chopped.
- juice of half a lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Chop all of the vegetables and add to a bowl.
- Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables stirring to coat.
- Leave to sit for a little while before serving.
My friend, Liz, recently posted her recipe for Gazpacho. It looks wonderful but if I’m honest Gazpacho isn’t something I eat as I have an issue with cold soup. I confess I can’t really even bring myself to try it. I’ve had shots of cold soup while dining out which was fine and I wish I felt differently but a whole bowl, for a meal isn’t really for me. As I was reading Liz’ recipe I was inspired and found myself thinking that all of those lovely ingredients would make a great salad! Of course I’m not the first to have this idea but as salad is my go to lunch at the moment I thought Id try this idea out and I’m glad I did! It made a delicious, fast lunch. It was nice to have a salad without any leaves for a change!
This Gazpacho salad is made in a jiffy! Chop all of the ingredients, whisk together the dressing and its done, you have the base of a meal in just a few minutes! I left the skin on my cucumber, partly as I like it that way but I also think the crunch it adds is nice. The chilli is to my taste, it can easily be left out or increased. I used oregano as it was to hand. I will try with dill next time but I think any fresh green herb would work. To get the maximum flavor from the tomatoes use them at room temperature. This is especially important at this time of year when tomatoes are decidedly less tasty! Tomatoes stored in the fridge have no flavour. I had salmon with my salad but this Gazpacho salad is the perfect side to fish, prawns (shrimp), chicken or bread!
Gazpacho Salad (serves 2)
- 2 large tomatoes. chopped
- 3 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, diced finely
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1/4 fresh chilli or some chilli flakes
for the dressing
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
- 2.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- some fresh oregano leaves, chopped finely
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- First assemble the ingredients for the dressing. Peel and smash the garlic clove and put into a jug or jar. Add the olive oil and vinegar and leave to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Chop the rest of the salad ingredients and add to a bowl.
- Fish the garlic out of the olive oil and discard. Add the salt and pepper and whisk together.
- Pour over the salad ingredients in the bowl and stir well to cover all the vegetables in the dressing, check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve at room temperature accompanied with bread, salmon, chicken, or prawns (shrimp).
Following the discovery that I could buy Meyer lemons here in the UK I found myself with said lemons and no idea what to make with them! I’m a terrible hoarder of my favourite things. Not a hoarder in the sense that have tons of stuff (I don’t!) but when I get something that I love I can’t bring myself to use it! So there I was with these lovely lemons and suddenly no recipe seemed to appeal to me as I didn’t want to use all my lemons! Before one gets the impression that I’m crazy I will get on with what I actually found to make! I had heard that Meyer lemons were so sweet the whole thing was edible! So this salad using the whole lemon, skin and all, was the perfect way to use one of my precious lemons without any waste!
It was lovely the day I made this salad, sunny and above 10 degrees, which possibly made me enjoy this even more! After a winter of soup this was such a treat as it was so summery and so healthy, it was the best salad I’ve eaten in a long time! It’s true you can eat the whole of a Meyer lemon! It’s a zesty and quite bitter (in a good way) salad. It certainly wakes up your taste buds and the spinach, feta and walnuts all balance it out adding their creamier, softer flavours. The more eagle-eyed of you may notice there are no walnuts in the picture! That is because I cut my finger while chopping the parsley for the salad and in my haste to finish so I could deal with the cut finger I forgot to add them for the picture!
It’s hard to find radicchio in all supermarkets, I get mine from the green grocer. I’m long aware of the difficulties in getting Meyer lemons in the UK so if you are unable to get a Meyer lemon a 1/4 of a pink grapefruit may make a substitute, although I haven’t tried that.
Radicchio and Meyer Lemon Salad (adapted from this recipe from Whole Living)
Ingredients (for 2)
- 1/2 a Meyer lemon, washed and chopped
- 1 small radicchio lettuce, sliced
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- a handful of fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 1 heaped tbsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (the other half of the lemon was enough for this)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 60 grams feta cheese, cut into cubes
- 30 grams walnuts, chopped
- Chop the lemon, radicchio, shallot, spinach and parsley. Add each to a bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together until combined. Add to the salad ingredients and mix well.
- Add the feta and walnuts and gently mix in to the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
I have mentioned before that I’m taking part in the Sustainable Eats year-long Urban farming challenge. It is true that I am a city girl, also true that I don’t much like getting dirty! Having said that there is a part of me that loves the idea of living in the open and growing my own food. Maybe a future life change but for now I make do with what I can grow in my tiny city garden and with the very generous crops that come from my Mother in law’s allotment. The challenge for August is food preservation. I’ve preserved lots, I made Peach Pie conserve also courgette relish, dill pickles, fig jam and more. There were further challenges within food preserving such as fermentation. Lacto-fermentation is meant to have many health benefits so this is something that interests me but I have no experience of it. Last year I made Winnie’s Pickled Cukes using lacto-fermentation and they were great so I knew where to head when I decided I would like to give Kimchi a try. Winnie’s blog Healthy Green Kitchen is one of my favourite blogs, full of healthy, delicious recipes and the photography is stunning! I chose to make the cucumber kimchi as I had a bunch of cucumbers freshly picked that morning. It’s really easy to make and no cooking is involved. I found the Cucumber kimchi to be incredibly flavourful, its tangy, sweet and a little sharp. I’ve been using it as a vegetable side dish and have really enjoyed it, I can not deny that I have also eaten forkfuls of t right from the jar!
Quick Cucumber Kimchi (using this recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen)
- I didn’t have tamari or liquid aminos so used 3/4 tbsp of soy sauce instead.
- I used 1 tbsp of garlic rather than 2.
Technorati code CMRMC9YZ7TMA
Time off work resulting in clearing out kitchen cupboards and finding some long-lost quinoa paired with a glut of broad beans concluded in this salad. I love quinoa, you know when you love something but completely forget to make it? That’s what happened to my long-lost quinoa, found behind 4 kinds of lentils and 3 kinds of rice, no mention will be made of how many bean varieties! I’m one of those shoppers that has to try everything! I have grown to love broad beans, growing up I hated them, they were invariably overcooked, grey and tough. Its only in the last couple of years since my Mother in law has started growing them that I’ve learned to appreciate them. When you look at them they are one of nature’s marvels, with that fuzzy, cosy pod protecting each bean. It was also a revelation when I thought to peel off the skin of each bean revealing a much brighter more tender green bean! The things you learn when you grow up!
This salad is quick to make and healthy too, quinoa is gluten-free and a good source of calcium and fibre. It’s great as a main dish, going well with grilled fish or meat. This is enough for 2 servings but if made in larger quantities it would also be a good make ahead take to work lunch, maybe add some feta – yum!
I used broad beans but edamame would make a great substitute.
Quinoa Salad with Broad beans
- 200 gram dried quinoa
- 100 gram broad beans
- 2 spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced
- few cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
- handful of spinach leaves, washed
- lime zest to taste
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. rice mirin
- Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions. When cooked drain and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile pod the broad beans and blanch in boiling water for a minute. Remove from the boiling water, drain and cover with ice-cold water to avoid further cooking. Slip each broad bean from its skin (I know this is tiresome but broad beans are so much nicer without that tough skin). Place the broad beans into a medium-sized bowl, large enough to fit the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Thinly slice the spring onions, chop the cherry tomatoes in half and place both in the bowl with the broad beans.
- When the quinoa is around room temperature or just a little warmer add to the bowl with the broad beans, onion and tomatoes.
- To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients together and immediately pour over the quinoa. Stir to combine.
- Add the spinach leaves and zest a lime directly over the salad, just a couple of scrapes with the zester will be enough. Give another quick mix.
- Best served at room temperature.
Panzanella is such a classic summer dish, making use of all the lovely tomatoes that the summer heat brings. I believe it was once considered a peasants dish, using up stale bread but its a trendy dish now and there are dozens of variations. While its true that tomatoes here in the UK sadly don’t compare with those in Tuscany, where Panzanella originates, if you choose the ripest tomatoes you can find and use them at room temperature you can make a delicious Panzanella here too. I love it and think I could eat it most days during the summer. My husband is not a fan of cucumbers, so this Panzanella does not include them, although they are easily added in if you prefer.
Having just enjoyed a week in the sun I am still in holiday mode and this shows in the meals I want to prepare at the moment, it may not be very summery here but nonetheless its summer on our plates! I included scallops and mozzarella pearls in our latest Panzanella and it was delicious! It’s rare that I am organised enough to have good tomatoes and stale bread in the house without planning so I often lightly toast the bread which works just fine.
- 4 slices of sourdough bread or any sturdy country type bread
- 4 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthways
- Few sprigs of fresh basil, leaves removed from stems
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more to cook the scallops
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Mozzarella pearls, my pot weighed 125 grams, if you can’t find pearls a ball of mozzarella torn into pieces would be fine
- Scallops, about 8 large scallops (or if sadly like the day I wanted them they only have small ones in a pack that will also be fine)
- Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, the onions into rings and place into a large bowl.
- Lightly toast the sourdough bread.
- Rub each piece of bread lightly, on both sides with the cut pieces of garlic. Cut each piece of bread into large cubes and put in the bowl with the onions and tomatoes.
- Roughly cut up the basil leaves and add to the bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Mix together well and leave to sit for a while allowing the bread to soak up the dressing and the flavours to combine.
- Brush each scallop with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan and place the scallops in the hot pan, cook for about a minute on each side.
- Add the mozzarella to the salad. Mix ingredients again and serve.
- Place the scallops onto the prepared Panzanella and enjoy.
Lovely tomatoes on holiday
I am taking part in this years Urban Farm challenge, the challenge for May was foraging. Living in a city this is not a regular activity for me. I’ve picked wild blackberries but that’s about the extent of my foraging experience. The challenge here was to try dandelions, they are free and plentiful after all and I hear they are good for you. I must admit to dragging my heels on this challenge, nothing has ever made me want to try a dandelion! Cooking dandelions seems even less appealing to me so I decided to use the leaves in a salad. Lucky for me I have one rogue dandelion plant in my garden so I didn’t have to go far to forage! I tried to pick the smallest leaves as they are meant to be the least bitter. While in the garden I also picked some sorrel that I have growing and decided to use a chives flower in my salad, another first for me, I tend to just use the leaves of the chives and leave the flowers. By an amazing stroke of luck I also found some wild garlic growing next to the dandelion so that went into the salad as well! I added some mixed lettuce leaves and dressed it simply with olive oil and salt as I wanted to really taste the ingredients. There is no recipe here as it really was just picking leaves, scattering some chives petals and dressing lightly.
My verdict? Well I loved using the flower from the chives, amazing how strong the taste of onion was in those tiny purple tips. The wild garlic was wonderful, I wonder how long that has been growing under my nose? As for the dandelions, well I tried but they really were bitter and grassy! It was fun to take part and I wish Id had time to forage further, there were more foraging challenges but May escaped me and here we are already in June!
It’s National Vegetarian week here this week. I decided to take part in that by eating a vegetarian diet this week. I’ve had to think of new lunches for the week. One of the lunches I came up with was this lentil salad, I was led by what was in the fridge, which is why I call this Fridge Dump Lentils. I read that term somewhere on the internet and have mentally used it since whenever I’m gathering whats left in the fridge to make a meal. This salad was a winner! I love lentils but don’t get around to cooking them so often, which is a shame as they are really good for you. Lentils are a good source of fibre, good for your heart and can help to lower your cholesterol. This is also one of those lunches that you can make ahead and just keep in a Tupperware for the week ahead. It would be easy to make variations according to taste and make your own fridge dump version, just throw in what you have. I think the lentils, both types of tomatoes and the stock make a good base which can then be enjoyed with lots of different salad items. This just happens to be what I had in the fridge.
Fridge Dump Lentil Salad
- 225 grams Puy Lentils
- 2 tsp Swiss vegetable Bouillon stock powder, use cube or fresh if preferred
- 1 pint of boiling water
- 2 tsp Olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 8-10 Baby mushrooms each cut in half.
- 1 carrot, diced small
- 1 stick celery, sliced thinly
- 5 cm of Cucumber , cubed
- 8 Cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
- 6 Sun dried tomatoes cut small
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse lentils and add to a saucepan, cover with the stock made with the boiling water.
- Cook lentils according to package instructions, my pack said bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking you can be chopping your vegetables.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the mushrooms, just until tender.
- When the lentil are cooked drain excess liquid if you have any and tip the lentils into a bowl.
- Add the mushrooms and all of the other vegetables. Stir to combine.
- Drizzle over olive oil and squeeze lemon juice to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.