Summer days are GREAT salad days.
Large bowls of greens, a creamy potato salad, tomato and onion with a tart dressing or a simple coleslaw takes the place of heavier sides and veggie bakes of winter.
But with the long, hot drawn out summer days, it can become a bit of a salad rut. The same salad, over and over again, is a bit like the same sex or the same menu it breeds contempt and frustration and before long you’re pondering mashed potato and steamed veggies instead!
Rather than stepping away from the salad bowl entirely, here are 6 ways to make a good salad into a great one!
Rather than serving it as the side dish, change it up! On a platter, place portion-sized pieces of salmon, marinated chicken, nut loaf or patties and then pile the salad on top. Present in the middle of the table with a loaf of bread and dig in! This is a great way to do salad as a lunch as well cook or reheat the main part of the meal then add to a bowl of salad.
2. Change the Dressing
Instead of a balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination, try a different oil (macadamia, avocado, rice bran or a drop of sesame) or use a citrus juice for the acid component. Use fresh herbs to change the flavour, add a sprinkle of sumac or ginger to
3. Add in something surprising!
Fresh or dried fruit is not the usual ingredient in salads for special occasions or just for Monday night. Mix up the textures as well as the flavours. Use apricot, mango or apple in small pieces, some nuts and seeds, edible flowers or croutons. A sprinkle of fried noodles or bacon is often a winner too, though warn the vegetarians and vegans if the secret ingredient is not to their taste!
4. Play with the ingredients
Familiarity breeds contempt, especially in the salad department! Instead of iceberg lettuce, diced tomato and sliced cucumber, try a different leaf such as rocket, baby cos or a mix; fancy tomatoes or raw beetroot; or radish, spring onion or sprouts if you’ve never tried them. Tinned chickpeas or beans make an interesting addition to salads with a creamy dressing, diced veges pair well with wild rice, and a sprinkle of a new cheese (goats, pecorino, or blue) can really change up a standard combination.
5. Start off with something cooked.
Step away from the “salads must be raw” idea. How about trying some grilled capsicum or zucchini, oven roasted tomatoes, quinoa or brown rice, roast pumpkin or beetroot, grilled mushrooms or shredded chicken. Noodles, cous cous or
6. Buy something beautiful
..to serve your creation in and with. Meals are about bringing the family together for sustenance and conversation and meals are what are remembered. Can you remember the china that your family had when you were 8? The dish that birthday cakes were served on? Probably something in the crockery cupboard at your parent’s house would trigger a flood of memories for you and that’s what parenting is about. So find an awesome blue bowl, some handcarved wooden salad servers, a great big glass salad bowl with matching salad tongs or a large flat dish just right for your salads and make some memories as well as some salads.
What fancy-pants salad do you take delight in preparing? What do you wow people with at a pot-luck get together? My favourite is a raw beetroot and carrot salad with parsley and apple some say “liver cleansing” while I say “yum”!