There’s nothing that goes better with summer barbecued food than a fresh, green salad. My husband Mariano is brilliant at whipping together a yummy salad. I think his Spanish roots help…. his family are great at making salads because they grew up with such wonderful fresh ingredients and definitely don’t do boring when it comes to salad. I’m so lucky that my husband is also fantastic in the kitchen and can really cook!
Salads have a bit of a bad reputation… Often they’re portrayed as being boring and tasteless; a mixture of iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber, smothered in a sugar filled, store-bought salad dressing.
But it doesn’t have to be like this, there’s such a wonderful variety of leaves, vegetables and other options to pop in your salad that they can not only be exciting, but a really filling, nutritious meal for all the family.
Here are our top tips on making the best super salads for optimum health…
1. Use a variety of different greens, especially dark green leafy vegetables. These are packed with calcium, magnesium, folate and iron, as well as many magical plant chemicals which are known to protect our health. We have a variety of greens growing in our garden – they are so simple to grow, and don’t really need much taking care of!
2. Always include some protein in your salads, to help you feel fuller for longer. You can include a mixture of beans and pulses such as chickpeas and lentils. Tinned are fine, just drain, rinse and mix with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper, then throw onto your salad veggies. Or you can combine proteins together – toasted seeds, feta or halloumi with some hummus is also a favourite in our house.
3. Make sure your salads are not boring. As my husband Mariano says, there’s nothing worse than just a few bits of iceburg, cucumber and tomato! We always add some seeds to our salads for crunch, taste and extra nutrients, including essential fats. You can put them in a hot pan for a few minutes to toast them and add extra flavour. Also we like to splash over some tamari once they are toasted (gluten free soya sauce).
4. Spiralise lots of different veggies. We love our spiraliser, and it’s great for adding crunchy veggies and different flavours. Cucumbers, courgettes, apples, peppers are great.
5. Mix it up with coleslaw! We love coleslaw mixed into our salads… fennel, red cabbage, apple, white cabbage and carrot are delicious. No mayo needed, just seasoning and a splash of lemon juice. Use yoghurt if you want a creamy dressing.
6. Add a rainbow! Give your salad lots of colour with different coloured salad veggies.. it’s a great way to add lots of antioxidants that protect your cells and support your immune system. Yellow or orange pepper, red radish, cooked beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli and slices of cooked, salty aubergine! Can you get a rainbow in your salad?
7. Don’t forget a good dressing! Cider apple vinegar is a great way to help support absorption of nutrients, and to get your salad tasting great. Just mix 2:1 on the oil to vinegar, with some salt and pepper. I also love blending avocados into this dressing for something thick and creamy.
8. My husband says be bold and experiment! And don’t forget to taste your salad as you make it. If it tastes boring, it probably will be! So make sure you season your salad, get in a good dressing and a variety of textures. How about some crunchy sauerkraut on top, or a tahini dressing with grated ginger, garlic, lime and a dash of honey for a good zing!
Here’s one of our favourite salads that my husband Mariano often makes…
Super spiralised noodle salad recipe
- 1 courgette
- 1 cucumber
- 20 to 30g of feta cheese or organic cheddar, cut into cubes
- 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 1 apple, cut into small cubes
- Olive oil – about 2 tablespoons
- Balsamic vinegar – about 1 tablespoon
- Pinch of salt and pepper.
- 1 handful of fresh coriander
- 1/2 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
Spiralise the cucumber into noodles, and spiralise the courgette into ribbons. Put into a bowl with the cheese, tomatoes and apple.
Put a frying pan onto the hob and allow it to heat. Toast the seeds, until they begin to pop and get a caramelised colour. Allow them to cool.
Put everything together in your salad bowl, mix well.
Mix together your olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. You can put them in a jam jar and shake well. Throw them over the ingredients.
Finely chop the herbs and mix into the salad. Also nice with some cubes of avocado thrown in.
Serve and enjoy!