FIVE HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS SALADS TO ADD TO YOUR MENU

Gone are the days where a salad consists of a few pieces of wilted lettuce, cucumber, and tomato, and is drowned in dressing. Salads are wonderfully versatile. They can be a whole dish, a side or a starter. They can be fresh, vibrant, crunchy, fruity, acidic; vegan, vegetarian.

People eat with their eyes and a salad might just be the easiest way to get your customers excited about their food before they’ve even tried it. The secret is colour, texture and flavour. And we create this by using a mixture of raw and cooked vegetables and fruit (even better if they’re in season), and fresh herbs and spices.

The five salads below are simple and delicious. All the components of the salads can be made ahead of time in big batches too, so that when the time comes to serve, you can easily put them together.

Superfood salad with roasted cauliflower

The delicately spiced cauliflower makes this a hearty salad that can be enjoyed by itself (and it’s vegan). Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 30g spinach
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 cauliflower
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½  tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Olive oil
  • 150g of cooked rice/quinoa / bulgar wheat
  • 80g edamame beans
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • A handful of fresh mint
  • A handful of fresh coriander
  • Salt & pepper

Dressing:

  • 1tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Remove the leaves from your cauliflower cut each floret from the main stem, place in a bowl with a drizzle of oil and the dry spices and toss until lightly coated
  2. Place the cauliflower in a 180 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden and soft but still with a little bite
  3. If you need to cook your rice, quinoa or bulgur wheat, get it going now
  4. Whilst the cauliflower cooks, prepare your edamame beans. If using frozen edamame beans, simply defrost in a bowl of boiling water, otherwise, de-shell and set aside
  5. Dry fry your pumpkin seeds and flaked almonds in a pan until they are lightly toasted and begin to release their aroma, then set aside to cool
  6. Remove half of the seeds from your pomegranate and place to a side
  7. Chop your fresh mint and coriander and set aside
  8. To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper
  9. Now let’s make the salad: Place your spinach in your chosen serving dish
  10. Ribbon your courgette (you can use a peeler for this) and then place the strips over the spinach. Try to avoid the really seedy bit as it goes watery – save it and use in another dish like a stir fry
  11. Sprinkle over your chosen grains, followed by the edamame beans, pomegranate seeds, toasted nuts and seeds and finally the fresh herbs
  12. Once the cauliflower is cooked place this on top of the spinach and courgette ribbons (it’s great cold or just warm, so it doesn’t have to be put together straight away)
  13. Sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt and a few twists of pepper and serve with the dressing on the side

Butternut squash and feta salad

The delicate spicing on the butternut squash makes this a very warming salad and goes brilliantly with red meat or chicken. Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 3cm chunks (roughly 500g)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g rocket
  • 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
  • 80g feta

Method:

  1. Coat your butternut squash in the spices, salt and pepper, and oil and roast at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cooked then leave to cool (again, this is great slightly warm)
  2. Place your rocket in a deep dish and top with the cooked butternut squash, pumpkin seeds and feta.

Grilled peach, prosciutto and burrata salad

This fruity salad is a great starter, especially served with fresh bread. The key is to slightly char the peaches for that delicious smoky flavour, which can be done in a griddle pan or bbq. The burrata is of course just a creamier version of mozzarella but if you’re struggling to get your hands on it, mozzarella works just as well. Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 peaches
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • 8 slices of prosciutto ham
  • 1 ball of burrata/mozzarella
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Slice your peaches into six segments then place them in a hot pan, for a couple of minutes on each side or until nicely charred then set aside to cool slightly
  2. Place the burrata in the middle of the plate and then add peaches, prosciutto and basil
  3. If using mozzarella it’s better to break it up into pieces with the other ingredients
  4. Drizzle with some good olive oil

Halloumi, pomegranate and avocado salad

The halloumi makes this salad a great vegetarian dish, chicken would also work well for those who feel they need it. Apart from the halloumi, all the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time. If you pre-cook the halloumi it will go hard as it cools. For the avocado, keeping this in an airtight container with a touch of lemon should do the trick or prepare to order. Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of halloumi
  • 2 tsp of honey
  • 80g spinach
  • 50g rocket
  • ½ a pomegranate / 2 tbsp of seeds
  • 1 avocado
  • Flaked toasted almonds
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 150g greek yoghurt
  • A handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Slice your halloumi into 1cm thick slices and then char in a hot griddle pan, turning after a minute or so
  2. Just before they are ready, drizzle 1 tsp honey over them while they’re in the pan then set them aside while you put the salad together
  3. Place your spinach and rocket in a bowl
  4. Peel and remove the stone from your avocado, cut into thin slices, then lay on top of the salad leaves
  5. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds
  6. Add the halloumi
  7. Now sprinkle over the fresh herbs and toasted almonds
  8. Mix together the tahini, greek yoghurt and 1 tsp of honey and spoon over the salad

Broadbean, asparagus & courgette salad

Fresh, light and simple, this salad is ideal for summer BBQ’s or as a side salad to main dishes – especially white fish. The feta can be swapped for a nice soft goats cheese too or leave it out altogether to make it vegan.

Frozen broad beans can be used for this dish, but if you’re using fresh this is what you need to do: remove from the large shells then boil for 5 minutes, before running under cold water. Once cool enough to touch, remove the outer bean skin. You should be left with a bowl of lovely deep green beans. Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 80g fresh spinach leaves
  • 30g rocket
  • 100g of broad beans, deshelled
  • 150g asparagus
  • 1 courgette, ribboned
  • 50g feta
  • 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Fresh mint
  • Salt & pepper
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • To serve: 1 lemon, in 4 segments

Method:

  1. Prepare your broad beans. If frozen, leave them to thaw out in a bowl of hot water, otherwise, prepare according to above
  2. Dry toast your pumpkin seeds in a pan, then set them aside to cool
  3. Using a peeler, ribbon your courgette then set aside
  4. You’re now ready to build your salad: start by placing the spinach and rocket in a large bowl, followed by the courgette ribbons
  5. Now add the broad beans and asparagus, chopped into 3cm pieces – Keep it raw as it adds a nice crunch and keeps all the nutrients in, just make sure you get rid of the woody stalk
  6. Top the salad with the feta, pumpkin seeds, fresh mint and lemon zest, as well as a pinch of salt and a little pepper
  7. Serve with a wedge of lemon

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