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Looking For Salad Ideas?

Elvis Elvis

Fresh ingredients are the key to great salads. They can be delicious with one ingredient and a good dressing, or with many ingredients. Dressings can be a simple as a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkling of vinegarette. First I give some ideas for different salad combinations, then recipes for Potato salad, Pasta salad, Brown rice salad, Coleslaw with Asian flavours, Spiced lentil salad, Mushroom salad, Fennel salad.

Green salads

Try a variety of dressings with these:

  • Mix of baby green leaves
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Asparagus and snowpeas
  • Watercress and thinly sliced green pears (sprinkle with lemon juice to stop pears from browning)
  • Lettuce leaf cups filled with chopped celery, peas, green beans, parsely, mixed bean sprouts
  • Spinach or chard (rainbow chard is so lovely if you can get it) steamed lightly dressed with grated lemon rind and lemon juice and a dash of olive oil

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Mixed

  • Cos lettuce, avocado with sundried tomatoes
  • Large leaf parsley, red onion and tomatoes
  • Finely sliced zucchini with sliced mushrooms
  • Grated carrot with chopped celery and walnuts
  • Thickly sliced cucumber, tomato, capsicum, olives, onion, chunks of day old crusty sourdough
  • Fennel with thin slices of orange and avocado

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Looking For Salad Ideas?

Vegetable-based

  • Roast or grill any of zucchini, eggplant (aubergine), capsicum (bell peppers), onion, tomato, garlic, pumpkin, mushrooms – lightly spray olive oil over baking paper and cook until tender. Serve with cooled, cooked pasta and toss with red wine vinegarette
  • Steam any of cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and dress lightly with yoghurt based or citrus dressing
  • Skewered antipasto – bocconcini, semidried tomato, roasted vegetable, stuffed olives, fresh basil leaves – arranged on wooden or stainless steel skewers

Grilling eggplant, for example, takes no time. Simply slice, spray with olive oil, place under a hot grill and in 15 minutes or less the eggplant is cooked. Grill each side until golden brown, then add a little red wine vinegar and scatter with parsley and basil. Serve with a green salad, hummous and crusty bread.

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Grain-based

  • Basmati rice, lentils, finely chopped cooked cauliflower, grated carrot, mix together with finely chopped parsley, garlic and onion
  • Chickpea and grilled eggplant with tomato and capsicum salsa

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Brown rice salad

2 cups of brown rice, 1 cup each of chopped button mushrooms, bean sprouts, alfalfa, spring onion (shallots), chopped bamboo shoots and chopped red capsicum. Dress with mixed 2 tbs apple juice, 2 tbs tamari and 1 tsp sesame oil

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For variety

  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, dates
  • Crumble fetta
  • Add grilled haloumi to roasted vegetables
  • Vary the fresh herbs – parsley, mint, thyme, coriander, basil, chives
  • Scatter caperberries or olives
  • Mix wild rice with basmati
  • Use different kinds of sprouts – bean, mung, alfalfa

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Meal ideas

Use a combination of the different types of salads above for a great lunch or dinner. My suggestion is to have one green, one mixed and/or vegetable, and one grain. You might want to cook extra rice or pasta, and have a mixture of breads to serve.

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Potato Salad

There are many variations on this salad – how about olive oil and balsamic dressing poured over just cooked potatoes, sprinkled with finely chopped parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper. The variations come from the numerous ways to dress (!) a potato. Try this recipe which serves 4 people:

  • 500g new potatoes (or waxy potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup of natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (or a seeded mustard)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs each chopped chives, parsley, mint
  • pinch paprika for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook potatoes 15-25 minutes depending on size, until cooked but not falling apart
  2. Drain well, while warm cut into pieces (the size you’d like to see in your salad bowl) and place in a bowl. If you wish peel the potatoes.
  3. Pour over white wine vinegar, and prepare other ingredients
  4. Combine yoghurt, mustard, lemon juice and chopped herbs.
  5. Add to potatoes, toss gently and serve with sprinkled paprika

Variation – add 1/4 cup black olives (nice tasty ones), 1 tbs drained capers, chopped parsley, juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 cup olive oil to cooled cooked potatoes. If you have time, soak 1/2 red onion (finely sliced) for 30 minutes in cold water and a little salt, drain, pat dry, and add to potato.

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Pasta Salad serves 4

  • 300g of any of fusilli, penne, farfalle (cooked)
  • 150g (approx) sun dried tomatoes (soaked until soft, chopped in half)
  • 1 avocado (seeded, chopped into cubes, and sprinkled with lemon juice to stop browning)
  • large handful of English spinach or rocket (chopped if leaves are large)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup black olives (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve. You can add pesto sauce, or replace the sun dried tomatoes and green leaves with roasted capsicums. Instead of olive oil, use a combination of yoghurt, lemon juice and mustard. Caramelised onions, thyme and black olives would be another yummy combo!

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Coleslaw with Asian flavours

  • 2 large carrots (grated)
  • 2 cups white cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 cups red cabbage (shredded)
  • 4 sticks celery (cut into matchsticks)
  • 1 lebanese cucumber (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 large spanish (red) onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh vietnamese mint leaves (or regular mint)
  • 1 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Dressing

  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp miso paste mixed with 1 tbs water
  • 1½ tbs lime juice
  • 2 long red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 3 tbs apple juice
  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix together.
  2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix in well.
  3. Pour over dressing and serve. This makes enough for around 10 people.

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Dress up lettuce with nuts, seeds or a single raw vegetable. I came across a recipe with finely sliced radishes, crushed walnuts and parsley tossed with lettuce using a dressing sweetened with apple juice. I whipped this up and this is what it looked like.
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Spiced lentil salad

  • 400g can cooked green lentils
  • 1 spanish (red) onion (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlice (minced)
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  1. Wash and drain lentils.
  2. In a frying pan cook onion, garlic and cumin in olive oil over moderate heat for a few minutes.
  3. Add lentils and baby spinach, stir until spinach has wilted.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with yoghurt mixed with juice of half a lemon.

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Mushroom salad

Use of mixture of mushrooms or feature a single type

  • 400g (14oz) mushrooms
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon or a little white wine vinegar
  • sprinkling of mixed chopped herbs
  • Clean mushrooms and slice thinly
  • Beat oil with lemon juice, mix in herbs
  • Pour over mushrooms and mix well
  • Leave for half an hour before serving

Variation: add garlic, or parmesan shavings. Marinate mushrooms overnight in dressing. Great when there’s lots of things to do on the day you’re serving them.

Fennel Salad

  • 2 small fennel (very finely sliced)
  • 1 cucumber (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz) lime juice
  • 1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • light olive oil to drizzle (if desired)

Combine all ingredients. Add seasonings to taste.