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Super Summer Salads

Updated on June 10, 2014

Use Fresh Local Produce

Choose your favourite ingredients.
Choose your favourite ingredients. | Source

So many reasons to eat salads

Many of us may have memories of a bit of limp lettuce and tomato on the side of the plate and for some this may be why they never really think of salads as a meal. Some of the more enlightened may see salads as an acceptable lunch but find it hard to think of them as a main meal but in fact they can be a wonderful supper or dinner meal, nutritious, colourful and easy to prepare.

Many salads do indeed have lettuce as a base but it is not vital and of course there is such a variety of lettuce and salad leaves at this time of year that everyone can find something they like.

They are also a great way of making sure that you have your five (or as more recent advice suggests, seven) portions of fruit and vegetables each day, and it is possible to also make sure that they are colourful which usually ensures that they contain a good range of nutrients. Where possible use fresh produce, I usually like to find locally produced food available from local farm shops or markets. But it is also fun to think about growing your own. Salad leaves of all varieties are easy to grow in tubs or pots or try a living lettuce in a pot which just keeps on growing as you cut leaves to eat. In fact I have also grown tomatoes, courgettes, French beans, and chillies in pots in my tiny garden.

For more on growing produce in pots have a look at the video.

Growing your own salad

Ingredients - Avocado Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  • one large handful lettuce leaves, try a variety until you find some favourites
  • quarter of a medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • half of a medium sized avocado, sliced or chopped
  • one large tomato, sliced or chopped
  • 50g Mozzarella Cheese, chopped or crumbled

Instructions

  1. Wash all ingredients
  2. Put in bowl large enough to toss
  3. Add dressing (see below) season, mix and serve

Avocado Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Simple, tasty and quick to prepare
Simple, tasty and quick to prepare | Source

Being Creative

One of the things I love about this salad is its simplicity and the way that you can change how it looks simply by slicing the tomatoes and avocado rather than chopping them and using round Mozzarella balls or round slices of mozzarella. I usually go for a simple vinaigrette but occasionally I use a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great to serve on its own or with a crusty baguette or some soft wholemeal bread.

Super Salads

Cast your vote for Avocado Mozzarella and Tomato salad

Avocado Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 large bowlful
Calories 480
Calories from Fat333
% Daily Value *
Fat 37 g57%
Saturated fat 12 g60%
Unsaturated fat 21 g
Carbohydrates 20 g7%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 8 g32%
Protein 20 g40%
Cholesterol 59 mg20%
Sodium 499 mg21%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Chick Pea and Egg Salad

This has to be one of my favourites. Simply drain a tin of chick peas, allow about a third of a tin per person add these along with 2 hard boiled eggs to salad ingredients of your choice. I would usually start with lettuce tomato, onion of some type, my favourite is red onion, and cucumber but you can use your own favourites.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, add a dressing of your choice, season and serve.

It is a filling substantial salad - a great lunch on a summer day.

Chick pea and Egg Salad

A filling hearty salad
A filling hearty salad | Source

Mixed Bean Salad

This is another firm favourite and again is a hearty salad full of fibre. Tis works well without lettuce but if you want leaves that's fine too. Simply drain a couple of tins of beans, try butter beans, borlotti beans, black eyed beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans. You could also add some blanched broad beans and I think sweet corn works well. Mix all these together with some chopped onion, tomato and cucumber and dress with your favourite dressing. I like to add some chopped fresh basil or coriander to this salad.

Mixed Bean Salad

A super salad full of fibre and protein
A super salad full of fibre and protein | Source

Dressings

For a basic vinaigrette simply mix 3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil with 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Then add salt and pepper. But there are loads of variations try some of the following

  • add some crushed garlic
  • add mustard, I use wholegrain mustard, and a teaspoon of honey is great with this
  • use lemon juice instead of vinegar
  • add any herb chopped finely - though I usually sprinkle chopped or whole leaf herbs on top of the salad rather than add in the dressing
  • Try adding a few chilli flakes or use a mixture of olive oil and chilli oil
  • For a Caesar dressing mix 50 mls olive oil with 5 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and garlic and Dijon mustard.
  • For those times when you are wanting to cut down on calories try simply adding balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to the salad with some salt and pepper and maybe some fresh herbs.


Other Salads

Here are some more ideas but then it is great just to add what you fancy and experiment a little. Change ingredients depending on the likes and dislikes of those who will be eating the salad.

Greek Salad

A great favourite, chop tomatoes, cucumber, onion then add olives and feta cheese. I also like to add a few capers to the dressing. This is one salad that I don't usually make with lettuce but others prefer it with lettuce.

Artichoke and Parmesan Salad

Quarter the artichokes from one tin and add to lettuce with some spring onions, chopped, and some cucumber. Then add some shaved parmesan.

Pear walnut and stilton salad

Use some crisp lettuce as a base (romaine works well) and add chopped fresh pear, a few walnuts and some crumbled pieces of stilton. I like the honey and mustard dressing with this salad.

Nicoise Salad

Mix some lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cucumber in a bowl then add olives, capers, tuna strips, hard boiled eggs and a few small new potatoes. Green beans work well too and of course anchovies are traditional but personally I leave them out. Salmon also works really well and you don't have to add potato - that is the beauty of making your own salads your own way.

Caesar Salad

A bit of a classic and I make my own version by adding quorn instead of chicken to lettuce, cucumber and spring onion. Then add some croutons and parmesan shavings - delicious.

Summer Vegetable salad

Add peas or mange tout, sliced French beans and maybe some asparagus to a salad base of your choice.

Fruits and nuts

As well as fruit salad, a masterpiece in it's own right, try adding some fruit to any salad, maybe pineapple with ham, some chopped apple with celery, or some pomegranate seeds to any salad of your choosing. I also love adding a few nuts, almonds, pine nuts or brazils all work well.

Or.....

Add some bacon or pancetta, this goes particularly well with avocado in my opinion and I am a big fan of beetroot, and pickled onions but there really is not end to how creative you can be.

Also think about adding some courgette shavings - uncooked but delicious providing it is sliced or shaved in super thin slices. Broccoli which has been blanched for about 3 -4 minutes in boiling slated water is also a vegetable I like to add to salads





Comments

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    • Sheila Mulvenney profile imageAUTHOR

      sheila 

      3 years ago from Bedford

      So glad you enjoyed the salads - thanks

    • profile image

      Charlotte 

      3 years ago

      Yes big thumbs up for these! I have made the mised bean and it was really good and so easy.

    • marieloves profile image

      Marie 

      4 years ago from Canada

      A lot of tasty salads! The avocado, tomato, and mozzarella salad looks delicious. My favourite summer salad is watermelon and feta. Thumbs up!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Healthy, yummy and easy to make, this is my type of recipe. I'm going to try the chickpea one. Voted up, useful and shared.

    • Sheila Mulvenney profile imageAUTHOR

      sheila 

      4 years ago from Bedford

      Thanks - enjoy!

    • misterhollywood profile image

      John Hollywood 

      4 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      Very useful hub for summer. Thumbs up!

    • Sheila Mulvenney profile imageAUTHOR

      sheila 

      4 years ago from Bedford

      thanks and they look great

    • profile image

      Juan 

      4 years ago

      Healthy, tasty and nitritivo. I invite you to my recipes: http://www.empresasdechihuahua.com/html/Comida/rec...

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