Salads are a wonderful way of getting your ‘five a day’ and making sure you eat enough colourful vegetables in your daily diet. In terms of flavours, once you have got the basics right, salads are infinitely versatile.
If you want to make a really good green salad, everything must be fresh and tasty - and preferably not from a long life supermarket bag! Personally we can always taste the plastic, and the gas they use to keep the leaves fresh, so it really pays to get a source of lettuce, rocket and herbs from as close to home as possible. In Organico we have our own freshly picked leaves for sale most days from now until the end of September, thanks to a fantastic supply of lettuces, herbs and rocket from Kristin Miller (organically certified), and Paul Shultz and Richard Speirs (both chemical free).
So start with some fresh clean lettuce, about three large leaves per person (roughly torn) and a few handfuls of rocket or something similar to spice it up. Next think about your meal. Would some tangy tomatoes be good? Some juicy cucumber? Chopped peppers, grated carrot or some thinly sliced crunchy fennel? Fennel goes really well with fish, for example. If we’re having a rich creamy dish thinly sliced red onion or scallions can be a good contrast. Fresh sprouts are a nutritious and crunchy addition to nearly any salad.
Herbs make an otherwise plain salad into something special, and a combination of basil, mint, chives, parsley and coriander go into the very popular multi grain salad in our cafe (and we are now bottling and selling the dressing so you can make it easily at home!). Basil always works well with tomatoes, but for something different try some mint as well, any selection works well with a mixed green salad, so be adventurous and heavy handed with herbs and we promise you won’t be disappointed.
If your meal is light you might like to add some lightly steamed broccoli, cubed or grated cheese, or some toasted seeds (see below). If your meal is plain some fruit in the salad can be nice - for example mango, pear, or apple all go well in a lettuce based salad! Or try olives, sundried tomatoes, or pickled beetroot - the more intense flavours go very well with plainer meals. To make a salad into a main meal try lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers, fresh fennel, tinned tuna and herbs with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing - perfect with some fresh bread for lunch.
To add seeds to your salad take a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and lightly toast over a medium heat in a dry pan. Place in a bowl and add a small amount of shoyu sauce or tamari, mix, and when cool add to your salad. And for a great french dressing recipe, see Rachel's recipe on the blog at: Rachel's French Dressing Recipe