Top 10 Salad Dishes
We all know that salads should be healthy, but there is no reason they should lack flavour. Here are some of our favourite salad dishes to serve on any occasion, but particularly now that summer seems to almost be here!
This beautiful salad originates in Italy, but has been adapted by many different destinations. The original ingredients, Tuscan style, consist of stale bread and tomatoes, but always use a good, rustic crusty bread, so that it can keep its shape and not dissolve into a soggy mess! Plenty of multi-coloured peppers, red onions, parsley and garlic all add to this incredible salad. You can also use capers and gherkins. Everything is chopped and tossed in either olive oil or a delicious vinaigrette. Great for summer barbecues.
Waldorf is a classic, invented in New York almost 100 years ago and still very popular. This is another salad that has been adapted through the years, but the basic one is still one of the best. Diced celery, walnuts, sultanas and apple in a rich mayonnaise fits the bill perfectly at any event.
Forget the tasteless shop bought ‘coleslaw’ – it no longer fits the bill. More restaurants than ever serve Asian slaw, even some of the cheaper hamburger chains, as it is far more tasty and weathers the test of time. The trick is to ‘julienne’ the vegetables, not beat them to death in a processor! Red cabbage, carrot, red onion, slivers of ginger and juice and zest of limes (and a finely chopped chilli for the brave at heart) will liven up slaw and get your tastebuds tingling. A good soy dressing and a topping of sesame seeds will take you to Asia in one crisp spoonful.
A good authentic mozzarella cheese is key, and try to buy ‘bufalo di mozarella’, a superior version with a creamy unctuous texture and delicious flavour. Combined with sliced tomatoes, basil and an Italian vinaigrette, this tends to be the first salad to disappear from the buffet table. Can also be called ‘tricolore’, due to the red, white and green colours of the Italian flag.
This salad topped the charts last summer as the No.1 salad served. There are so many versions so be inventive. Of course potatoes – good, firm and waxy potatoes are the best to use, along with a top class mayo, is the foundation for this salad, but think outside the box – you can add onions, spring onions, corn, herbs, spices – or how about frankfurters sliced, or chorizo or crispy bacon? For a more wholesome version, mix with tuna, red onion and olives, ‘a la provencale’. Yummy.
Roquefort and Pear Salad
Its about time cheese got mentioned! Combine some bitter leaves such as endive, rocket and red and white chicory with cubes or slivers of Roquefort cheese (you can use Stilton), sliced ripe pears, a few chopped walnuts and a walnut oil dressing. A grind of black pepper completes this delicious salad.
Watermelon and Feta
More cheese, but this time combined with thirst-quenching watermelon to combat the saltiness of the feta. Skin and slice some wedges of watermelon, sprinkle over the feta and toss in a few black olives – delicious and refreshing for any occasion.
Tabouleh (bulghar wheat salad)
A touch of the Middle East and very popular in many countries throughout the globe. Cooked bulghar wheat is combined with diced tomatoes, cucumber, celery, parsley, onions and garlic and tossed in an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Plenty of black pepper really enhances the flavours of this favourite ‘bulk’ salad which can be served with almost anything! Add some chickpeas for some more authenticity.
Once avocado became known as a ‘superfood’ this salad combination hurtled through the ranks into the top 10. Combined with cherry tomatoes, spring onions, sliced radishes, chopped parsley and mint it is pure health in a bowl. Choose your own dressing, but if you want a hint of spice, use some sumac with crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to toss the salad in – so delicious.
Mixed Bean Salad
Some good carbs, a healthy dose of protein and low fat make this salad a winner with dieters and gym enthusiasts. So simple – just a mixture of beans such as kidney beans, green beans, cannellini beans (or you can buy the cans of mixed beans (as long as you wash off the salt!), diced celery, a touch of garlic and some finely chopped herbs will provide you and your guests with a healthy but wholesome salad. Try adding a touch of chilli or a strong mustard vinaigrette.
Enjoy the summer and these salads from our favourite selections at TryMyKitchen.