We’re smack in the middle of salad season down under, and I’m here to prove Homer Simpson wrong. Yes, you heard that right. Salad isn’t just a sidekick to your barbie; it can be the star of the show! If my hubby asks “What’s for dinner” and I say salad, he always says “You can’t win friends with salad”. He’s such a grandad. 😆
Chef tips for Salad
Here’s my rundown on making your salad not just sing, but able to be served as a main (and still have your hubby happy).
- Add Texture: I love tossing in a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for that extra oomph. Picture this: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, smoked almonds lightly chopped (because why not?), currants, barberries, and cranberries. These little guys bring in a variety of textures and bursts of flavour to your boring salad leaves.
- Homemade Dressings: Store-bought? No, thank you. Whip up your own dressing in a jiffy. Here are a couple of my go-to ideas:
- Classic Vinaigrette: Just whisk together 3 parts light-flavoured olive oil (you don’t want it to overpower it), 1 part vinegar (balsamic or apple cider works wonders), a teaspoon of mustard, a pinch of salt, and a dash of pepper. Simple yet sophisticated. Keep it in the fridge and it will last for months.
- Creamy Avocado Dressing: Blend a ripe avocado, a dollop of yogurt, a splash of lime juice, a clove of garlic, and a handful of soft herbs (choose what you like). It’s like a hug for your greens!
- Salad Leaves Galore: Mix ’em, match ’em, but don’t overspend on those fancy pre-mixed bags that include dressings and other bits. I say, grab a variety and have some fun. From the crispiness of romaine to the peppery punch of arugula, there’s a whole world of leaves out there! You can even grow some yourself, I grow mine in pots and use them to decorate my outdoor table when they’re looking good.
- Cheese, Please: You knew it was coming. I love cheese on lots of salads. My pick on a leafy salad? Crumbled Danish feta. It adds a salty, creamy touch that takes your salad from good to ‘Where have you been all my life?’ 🤣🤣🤣
- Grains for Gains: I’m a big fan of tossing in cooked grains for a hearty touch. Barley, freekah, quinoa – you name it. I cook them in my Thermomix, freeze in portions, and then just thaw them out while I’m prepping the salad, I’m talking about a 1/2 a cup. My hubby loves this because it brings a lovely texture and probably makes him feel fuller!
- Noodles: Quick, cook noodles, the ones you just pour boiling water over and let sit. You only need a small amount to add to a salad.
- Caramalised Veg: Peel a sweet potato, cut it into cubes, spray a little olive oil on it and cook it in an air fryer or fry pan. You can do this with so many veg but I have to say sweet potato will probably win most people over.
- Protein: Rather than serve it on the side, slice, chop, BBQ or Air Fry it, and toss it on top just before serving. I regularly make my Easy Oven Fried Chicken (with Panko crumbs) and do this. You only need one thigh fillet between two of you, this wins my hubby over what about yours?
So, there you have a heap of ideas. Salads don’t have to be boring or a chore. They can be fun, flavourful, and yes, a way to win friends (take that Homer Simpson! 😛).
Dive into your salad bowl with these tips, and who knows, you might just become a “salad whisperer”! 😉
Here are some of my posts with complete salad ideas to get you started.
- Healthy Middle Eastern Grain Salad I make mainly for a side but I get the leftover grains to freeze for another meal
- Asian Pork Salad using your Air Fryer you could use any kind of meat here
- Crunch Cashew Salad use this as a base or as is
- Waldorf Salad is a classic salad
- Greek Watermelon Feta Salad is great on a hot day
And just because its fun, and has a catchy tune… 🙂