Salads are more than lettuce leaves. To me, salads are a modern way of eating. Brightly coloured piles of well-thought out leaves and carefully roasted or thinly sliced raw vegetables, good bread, grassy olive oil and toasted seeds or nuts are the lunch (and dinner) of kings. Add some interesting grains or pulses for a heartier meal, or pare everything right back with sprightly green salad leaves and a killer dressing. Whether simple or complex, light and airy or hearty and filling, make sure to embrace your salad days. Each one of the below takes no more than half an hour, too.
TOO HOT TO EAT RAW SALAD (PICTURED ABOVE)
I make this when it feels too hot to eat or I am in need of something a bit refreshing. I first made it on a weighty, humid summer’s day in London a couple of years ago – not unlike the ones we’ve had this week. Now every time I make this I start singing Kool and the Gang.
- 50g raw peanuts
- 2 carrots
- 200g watermelon
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 little gem or 1 cos lettuce, or 1⁄2 an iceberg
- a bunch of fresh coriander
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1⁄2 a red chilli
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 2 limes
- A little runny honey
- Get all your ingredients and equipment together. Soak the peanuts in iced water and put them into the fridge while you get on with everything else.
- Peel the carrots, then use a speed-peeler to peel them into long strips and place them in a bowl with some iced water.
- Cut the watermelon into bite-sized pieces, removing any very seedy bits and the outer skin. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Pop both into a serving bowl and put into the fridge.
- Use the speed-peeler to peel the cucumber into long strips too, stopping when you get to the watery seeded bit, and add to the serving bowl of watermelon and tomatoes in the fridge. Shred the lettuce and pick the coriander leaves from the stalks and add those to the serving bowl in the fridge too.
- Chop the red chilli for the dressing and put into a small bowl with the soy, the juice of both limes and a small squeeze of honey. Taste and adjust, adding more lime, honey and soy if needed until you have a nice balance of heat, acidity and sweetness.
- Take the serving bowl and the peanuts out of the fridge. Drain the peanuts and carrots well, add to the bowl and pour over the dressing. Toss through the lettuce and scatter over the coriander.
- Eat in a breezy spot, while thinking of dipping your feet in the pool.
Recipes taken from A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Jones.
Lebanese Lentil Salad
Nutty puy lentils, pomegranate jewels and a good bashing of spices – this is hearty and refreshing all at once.
- 1 pomegranate
- Small bunch parsley, stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
- Small bunch mint, stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
- 1 x 400g tin Puy lentils, drained
- A big handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 roasted peppers from a jar, roughly chopped
- A handful of toasted pumpkin seeds
- 4 flatbreads
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A pinch of sumac
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, bashed up
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, bashed up
- Juice of ½ lime
- Juice of ½ orange
- 1 tsp honey
- Heat your grill to medium.
- Cut your pomegranate in half and hold one half over a small bowl. Tap the outside with a wooden spoon and the seeds will tumble out. Do the same with the other half.
- In a big bowl, mix together the chopped herbs, lentils, tomatoes, red peppers, pumpkin seeds and half the pomegranate seeds.
- Drizzle the flatbreads with olive oil, sprinkle with sumac and pop under the grill for a few minutes.
- Put the coriander and cumin seeds into a frying pan on a medium heat, and toast for a minute or two.
- Add a good drizzle of olive oil, the lime juice, orange juice, and honey and cook for a couple of minutes, until reduced down.
- Pour the warm dressing over the lentils, give them a good stir, top with the rest of the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately with toasted flatbreads.
Chop Chop Salad
Sweet, crunchy, refreshing and delicious. A lovely side to scrambled eggs or on it’s own as a light lunch, and loved by kids as well as adults.
- ½ a cucumber
- 1 carrot
- 4 radishes
- 1 tomato
- 1 spring onion
- 1 little gem lettuce
- A small bunch of mint
- A very small handful of poppy seeds
- A small handful of pumpkin seeds, toasted
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1 tsp mustard
- ½ tsp runny honey
- A splash of red wine vinegar
- A bigger splash of extra virgin olive oil
- Find a big chopping board. Put the cucumber, carrot and radishes on the board and roughly chop them. Move them to one side.
- Put the tomato, spring onion, little gem and the mint leaves on the board and chop them.
- Then get a big knife and chop everything together, using a rocking motion, until it is all mixed and very well chopped. Pop into a salad serving bowl.
- Put all the dressing ingredients into a jam jar and shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad, season well, and sprinkle over the seeds.