Salads pictured from issue 95 on sale February 8th, 2021.
This time of year, when produce is abundant and the evenings long and warm, it is great to be able to make meal-time easy with one-dish salad dinners. When thinking salads many of us go stalwartly to our tried and true favourites, so I thought I’d pop together a little ‘thought starter’ to encourage you to try some new combinations.
The starting point for me is often the protein component, particularly if it’s a way of using up leftovers - for example a roast chook for dinner the night before. Next up, think about your flavour profile inspiration, and what you have in the cupboard…if you’re currently overrun with tomatoes and fresh basil, then head down a Mediterranean route and add baby spinach, buffalo mozzarella and some crunchy croutons. Don’t know what to do with those left-over tins from long-ago lock down? Break out the lentils and chickpeas and match with rocket, couscous, caramelised onions, feta and coriander.
Once you have a basic flavour profile in mind, it is time to mix and match – with leafy greens, a carbohydrate component, vegetables (left-over roast kumara is fabulous!) and fruit (stone fruit at the time of year is perfect). Then it’s time to ‘pump it up’ with a few extra hits of flavour and texture – nuts and seeds are great for crunch, while chilli, herbs, olives and, if you’re a fan, anchovies can amp up the intensity.
Dressings bring much needed moisture to the equation, and again there are many options to choose from – cooling yoghurt, spicy soy, garlicky oil and lemon…just make sure you’re sticking to that original flavour profile with your options.
Using the list, here are four quick examples of how to plan your mix and match salad:
Left-over sliced cooked lamb or beef
Fresh parsley or coriander
Garlicky lemon & olive oil dressing
Walnuts or hazelnuts