I’ve had a busy week of workshops and have decided to run with the theme of making the absolute most out of beautiful, natural ingredients by showing just how satisfying and ‘epic’ a salad can be. We humans crave the “new”. I’ve been thinking of late it’s because we used to be nomads and there was always a new plant to explore, or animal to catch… Food marketers of course give us ‘new’ stuff all the time, but their playing on our desire to be continually excited by food, leads us down a processed food path full of tricks and promises, and we sure don’t want to go there!
So, back to our epic salad where everything can be ‘new’ by playing with different flavours and textures. All you need to do is grab a couple of ideas from each texture to get the layering of flavours and textures happening. This is also going to help you pair loads of nutrients together.
Add crunch – We crave the crunch, am I right?
- Buckwheat kernels or “buckinis” are a great crouton replacement
- Baked nuts / seeds
- Fennel. Instead of shaving it, cut cubes of it. So, so crunchy!
- Raw asparagus. Super crispy and crunchy
- Kale or beet leaf chips on top
Add a sweet ‘kick’
- Lower sugar dried fruits like inca berries or currants are gorgeous sprinkled through
- The ‘breakfast crunch’ from my book is so good in savoury salads and veg as well as on yoghurt – It has a little syrup and cinnamon through it
- Sweet leftover veg – sweet potato, roasted beets…
- Grated apple
- Fresh mint
- Grated beets
- A teaspoon of honey / maple / rice malt syrup in the dressing for a hint of sweetness
- Mixed leaves
- Shaved fennel or beets (with a mandolin)
- spring onion
- large chillies with soft heat
- spices in the dressing such as pepper, a hint of cumin or turmeric
Add fresh herbs
- Mint, Basil, Coriander, Parsley, native herbs to where you live… We vastly underutilise these leaves AND THEIR STALKS. There’s no excuse to leave herbs rotting away in the fridge any more. Get them into a salad in abundance – Half in the salad, half in the dressing. Done!
Add pantry / fridge randoms
- Kelp noodles. Amazing for a good hit of iodine. Just watch you don’t grab from Asian origin countries as after the Fukushima disaster I don’t think sea veggies from Japan are a safe choice.
- Leftover cooked quinoa.
- Leftover steamed veggies. Lightly steamed broccoli is delicious cold through a salad the next day.
- Things you’ve got lurking that need using.
Add something ‘meaty’
- Either pop your meat into the salad or go for some vegetarian options.
- A few strips of salty grilled haloumi, if you eat dairy.
- Gruyère which is a great raw milk aged cheese available most places for a treat.
- Roast veg – The thick, soft chewy texture does well as the ‘meaty’ component of an epic salad.
- Tinned mackerel or sardines (I tend to recommend against pacific seas tuna for mercury and fukushima contamination. Plus the mackerel and sardines are far more sustainable and as luck would have it, much richer in omega 3s)
- Tempeh. It’s not my favourite, but if it’s yours, knock yourself out!
Add something tangy
- Pomegranate arils are amazing for little acidic punches of flavour in a salad
- Incaberries also excellent for tang
- Chunks of orange, grapefruit or if in season and available, blood limes or finger limes
- Little cherry tomatoes
This week I did this salad twice. I hope you enjoy this combo and don’t be afraid to replace certain bits in it with things you have at hand for easy food prep.
First, I roasted 2 chooks. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, skip this bit. The salad’s amazing without the chook too. Why two? Well, I needed them for the larger of the two workshops. But roasting two organic chooks is always a good idea if you’re going to have a few busy days, as it means there will be more for subsequent meals at the ready. Some can go into a tomatoey sauce to serve over zucchini noodles or gluten free pasta. Some in a soup with stock made from the bones. Some in a nourishing bowl of random ingredients thrown together – A very common quick lunch solution for me these days. If you have kids, it’s a no brainer to have leftovers for school lunches!
Quick and delicious roast chicken (double for your 2 chickens)