As we head into the warm summer months, a substantial salad full of seasonal leaves, roasted veg, a bit of protein and topped with crunchy nuts or croutons is the perfect meal: full of flavour, colour and different textures, but without filling you to bursting on a hot day.
You can make up your salad depending on what you have to hand or what you feel like, with some basic rules to help you along the way.
Build your salad with a mix of leaves: cos or little gem lettuce, peppery leaves such as local watercress or rocket and spinach or kale.
Then choose one or two elements from these categories: Fruit & Veg, Proteins and Starches.
With the proteins, think tuna, tofu or salmon, roast beef, crispy bacon or Serrano ham, feta or goat’s cheese. You only need one of these, and select the other ingredients around this protein base. You can add this sparingly, or top the salad with a chicken breast or grilled steak.
For the fruit and veg category, you can choose between roasted veg (asparagus, butternut squash, mini roast potatoes, courgettes, peas and beans) cooked and cut into bite sized pieces where necessary, or fruit such as tomatoes, diced apple, raspberries, orange or peach slices.
The starch acts as filler to make the salad more satisfying. Think of beans, chickpeas or lentils, or grains such as quinoa, bulgar or barley.
Finally a topping of croutons or roasted nuts gives a lovely crunch to finish it off.
Remember with any dressing 1 part vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, lemon juice etc) to 3 parts oil. Salt & pepper to taste.
Try these to get you going:
Roast Beef Salad, with Charcoal Roast Hampshire Topside of Beef, Mixed leaves (lollo rosso, frisee, rocket, cucumber & tomato), Roasted butternut squash and courgettes, Pearl Couscous & Quinoa with a honey & mustard dressing.
Asparagus Salad (Rogate’s finest) with Goats cheese, candied walnuts and lemon vinaigrette
Burrata Cheese with Serrano ham, Isle of Wight Tomatoes & black garlic vinegar