I used to do loads of cooking but since we had Little O most of the food preparation in our household falls to Mr O as I tend to be trying to wrangle the little fella into bed at prime dinner making time. I decided I was definitely going to make at least one meal this week, even if it was a quick one. Enter this easy salad. Of course just as I finished making it Little O woke up and refused to go to bed for another two hours so I didn’t get to eat any until 10pm but it I enjoyed it none the less.
Last week it was really warm so I got very excited and decided it was spring. I was so excited that I decided to buy a whole lot of ingredients to make salads. It turned out it was not spring. It was basically spring teasing us and then deciding to hold off until a yet to be named date. Fortunately even though it was cold and windy when I made this, it was still delicious so we didn’t feel too sad that we had to eat it wearing jumpers.
This is yet another recipe from Lean in Fifteen. I think sooner or later Joe Wicks is going to sue me for copyright infringement but I I love his recipes and they have been so good for my gestational diabetes. I have to admit that before I made this I had never poached salmon before but I thought it gave the fish a lovely texture and made it easy to flake for this zingy salad.
This recipe is another adaptation from Joe Wick’s Lean in 15. His version is made with spinach in the salad but I had rocket in the fridge so I wanted to use it up and one of the major challenges of gestational diabetes is that you need to eat carbs with every meal but limit them and stick to complex carbs so while Joe suggests serving this with a side of green veg I added some new potatoes.
Spiced lamb cutlets with salad and new potatoes
12 lamb cutlets
300g Greek yoghurt
4 tablespoons ground almonds
4 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 handfuls of baby rocket
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber cut into cubes
A bunch of coriander, leaves only roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
385g ready to cook new potatoes with herbs and butter (I was lazy)
I made this salad in an attempt to try out some new grains. I loved the nutty flavour of the freekeh, which is apparently a type of green wheat but Mr O was not a fan at all and refused to finish his.I didn’t mind much though since I got to have it for my lunch a couple of days running and it was both tasty and filling.
Summer has finally arrived in London and over the past couple of weeks it’s actually been quite hot. When the temperature goes up all I crave is salads, which is pretty handy when it comes to trying to lose weight. I got this spicy salad recipe from the Weight Watchers website and while it’s not exactly a substitute for a curry it does help to deal with any cravings for those kinds of flavours.
This salad was born mostly out of me chucking together things I had in my fridge but it worked really well together and I would absolutely make it again. I can imagine that many of you would have similar things hanging around in your fridge so I am sharing it with you. Read more…
This is another recipe from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. This chicken salad is quick, packed with flavour and makes a great next day lunch if you can’t finish it all in one go.
Tikka chicken salad
For the chicken
2 chicken breasts
2 heaped tablespoons of tikka paste
4 chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
For the salad
4 spring onions
1 fresh red chili
1 heaped teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 x 250g pack of ready to eat Puy lentils
1 ripe tomato
red wine vinegar
1 big bunch of fresh coriander
4 tablespoons of fat-free natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons cashew nuts
1 heaped tablespoon mango chutney
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 small or 1 large naan breads
200g baby spinach
1 carrot, peeled and trimmed
50g feta cheese
Put a griddle pan (if you have one, a normal frying pan is fine) over a high heat and a medium frying pan or saucepan over a medium low heat.
Over a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper and tikka paste. Fold over the paper and then bash the chicken with something heavy until it’s about 1.5cm thick. I used a bottle of olive oil. Place in the hot griddle pan with the mushrooms, turning after 3 or 4 minutes until cooked through.
Trim and finely slice the spring onions and half the chili.
Put the mustard and cumin seeds and two tablespoons of olive oil into the medium frying pan/saucepan, followed by the sliced spring onion and chili. Add the lentils to the pan, squash in the tomato, add a pinch of salt and pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar. Stir occasionally for a couple of minutes and then turn off the heat.
Rip the leaves off the coriander and then put the stalks in your food processor. Add the juice of the lemon, the yoghurt, cashews, mango chutney and turmeric and whizz until smooth.
Removed the cooked chicken and mushrooms from the pan and add the naan to it. Tip the baby spinach onto a serving platter. Scatter over the lentils. Use a speed peeler to finely slice the carrot and cucumber over the top. Spread over the mushrooms. Slice the chicken, remaining chili and naans and spread over the salad. Crumble over the feta and dot the yoghurt dressing over the top. Finish with coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges.
I am a really big fan of salads so I couldn’t resist making this unusual carrot salad. I absolutely loved the spicy North African flavours but I have to admit that Mr O didn’t like it – apparently too many carrots. So if you’re not a carrot lover this one might not be for you but I ate almost the entire salad over a few days as it keeps really well. I can imagine it would be great as a side at a braai.
Spiced carrot, chickpea and feta salad
Adapted from Scrumptious South Africa
200g tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
75g feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
For the dressing
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of half an orange
Juice of a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Make the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast. Keep tossing so that they don’t burn. Set aside.
Trim and peel the carrots. Slice the carrots into 3mm slices. I used the mandolin side of my box grater. You could also use a food processor or slice them by hand (although that might take a while).
Bring a pot of salted water to a rapid rolling boil. Add the carrots and immediately set a timer for five minutes. When the five minutes are up test a carrot slice to check if it is tender. It should be just about al dente. If it’s not give it a couple more minutes. Drain the carrots in a colander and then add them to the bowl with the dressing. Mix in the chickpeas, cover and set aside at room temperature for a couple of hours or in the fridge if you’re planning on serving it the next day.
Just before you serve the salad mix in the parsley and mint. Pile the salad onto a pretty platter, crumble the feta over the top and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serves 2 – 3 as a main or 6 as a starter or side.
The secret to this couscous with a kick is the spicy harissa paste in its dressing.
Summer couscous salad
125ml chicken stock
200g tinned chickpeas, drained
2 courgettes cut at a slant
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
250g haloumi cheese, thickly sliced
For the dressing
60ml olive oil
Juice of half a lime
1 cloved of garlic finely chopped
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon of harissa paste
Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over the stock. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Mix together all the dressing ingredients. Stir the couscous with a fork and mix in the chickpeas and dressing. Set aside.
Put a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the courgette slices until golden brown on both sides and then set aside on a piece of kitchen paper.
Add a little more olive oil to the pan, return to the heat and then put the tomatoes in the pan cut side down. Fry for a couple of minutes until lightly brown. Set aside with the courgettes.
Wipe the pan out, add a little more olive oil, return to the heat and fry the haloumi until golden on both sides.
Arrange the couscous, courgettes, tomatoes and haloumi onto two plates and serve.
I am a massive fan of sweet potatoes in every possible incarnation – baked, roasted, fried, mashed… I cannot get enough of their sweet, yet earthy flavour. I think this warm salad makes the best of the salty feta and chorizo and the sweetness of the potatoes… and it’s delicious, quick and hearty.
Sweet potato and chorizo salad
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
100g sliced chorizo3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
200g baby spinach
1/2 cup pitted black olives, cut in half
100g feta cheese
Preheat your oven to 180 C. Put the sweet potato cubes in a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Then sprinkle over the rosemary, smoked paprika and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
Then add the chorizo and and roast for 15 more minutes. Then drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and return to the oven for five more minutes.
Make a bed of spinach leaves on an attractive platter. Spread the sweet potatoes and chorizo over the spinach, followed by the feta and the olives and then drizzle with the juices of the roasting pan.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
My dad has been with his partner, Pat, for about sixteen years and although they’ve never gotten married, I think of her as my step-mum and very much part of our family. Whenever we stay with my dad and Pat we always have amazing food and she makes the most delicious salads so following our recent trip to see them I decided to replicate this one at home with a couple of tweaks. Thanks for the great inspiration, Pat!
Pat’s amazing salad
100g fresh crunchy salad leaves
200g baby plum tomatoes
200g smoked salmon
1/2 a medium avocado
50g feta cheese
3 spring onions
3 – 5 large, ripe strawberries
A handful of pumpkin seeds or salad sprinkle (optional)
If you are using the pumpkin seeds place them in a large frying pan in a single layer over a medium heat, shaking occasionally until they pop. Set aside.
Place the salad leaves in a large, attractive salad bowl.
Slice the mushrooms, spring onions, strawberries and avocado and add to the bowl.
Halve the tomatoes, cut the feta cheese into cubes and add both to the bowl.
Tear or cut the salmon into 2cm pieces and add to the bowl.
Toss well and then sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds or salad sprinkle.
Serve with a selection of salad dressings for people to choose from.
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main
These high speed wraps might seem a little meager when you’re splitting the lamb between them but once you add the salad they are really hearty. I have adapted this recipe from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals so be warned it requires a speedy pace. Make sure you have all your ingredients out and ready.
Lamb salad wraps
250g lean lamb mince
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
Juice of one lemon
4 flour wraps
4 spring onions
1 green pepper
1/2 a cucumber
1 little gem lettuce
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
1/2 bunch of fresh dill
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
50g feta cheese
Turn your oven up to 240 C and put a large frying pan over a high heat. Put a tablespoon full of olive oil in the frying pan with the mince, salt, pepper, cumin seeds and paprika. Strip the rosemary leaves into the frying pan and then break everything apart with a wooden spoon, stirring regularly until golden. Add the garlic, tomato puree and lemon juice, stir into the the mince and then remove from the heat.
Spread the wraps out across two large baking trays. Split the mince between the wraps and spread it out. Then pop the baking trays in the oven for the wraps to crisp up a bit.
While the wraps are in the oven, slice the spring onions, green pepper, lettuce, herbs and cucumber. Dress the salad with the extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar and crumble over the feta.
Take the wraps out of the oven and top each one with salad and a couple of tablespoons of humous. Roll up and dig in.
It might seem unusual to make a salad for dinner in the middle of winter but with all the meat we’ve been eating lately since we got the slow cooker I just wanted something light and fresh and this zesty salad was perfect.
Bulgar wheat salad
20g pine nuts
125g bulgar wheat
1/2 a medium cucumber
1 cup of baby tomatoes
100g feta cheese
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 a small bunch of coriander
Fresh ground black pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a flying pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Set aside. Prepare the bulgar wheat according to the package instructions. Cut the cucumber and cheese into 1cm cubes, halve the tomatoes and tear up the leaves from the bunch of coriander. Add to the bulgar wheat.
Stir together the olive oil, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add this to the bulgar wheat and mix well. Sprinkle over the pine nuts.
This is a great mid-week meal that can be thrown together with very little effort – in fact my slightly less experienced husband made this according to instructions while I was out for a run. You can serve it with some brown rice to make a vegetarian meal or it would make a great side at a BBQ.
Warm roast vegetable, chickpea and feta salad
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200g sliced button mushrooms
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tin chickpeas, drained
50g feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 200 C. Chop the courgettes, aubergines and red onion into 1 inch chunks and put in a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well so that all the veg is coated in oil. Line a large baking dish with foil and spread the veg across it evenly. Pop in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
When the veg is ready, allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then add the chickpeas, feta and parsley and mix gently.
Serves 4 when served with rice.
All salads are not created equal and I don’t remember the limp overly leafy salads of my childhood with much love. However, put together well, a salad can be as exciting a meal as any other. This is a salad I regularly knock up at home and it’s always a winner. The recipe below is for two as a main course but you could divide it by four and serve it as a starter.
Beetroot, goats cheese and pancetta salad
1 bag of mixed baby salad leaves
4 – 5 cooked baby beetroots, sliced (Sainsburys does an amazing pack of sweet baby beetroots that is ridiculously good)
80g pancetta lardons (again Sainsbury’s does a herbed variety that is delicious)
80g goats cheese (the unrinded, soft creamy variety)
8 baby tomatoes, halved
A handful of pumpkin seeds
Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the pumpkin seeds. Shake them around occasionally until they are toasted. You will hear them popping. Make sure not to burn. Set the pumpkin seeds aside and add the pancetta to the pan. Fry until crispy and then transfer to a plate with a piece of kitchen roll on it to drain off any excess fat.
Divide the leaves between two large plates. Spread out the sliced beetroot and tomatoes over the leaves, Then crumble over the goats cheese and sprinkle over the pancetta and pumpkin seeds.
Finally finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter.
As the weather warms up, I am finding myself craving salads more and more for dinner. I am not much of a leaf eater though. The best way to put me off a salad is by putting in piles and piles of leaves, which is why I love this hearty salad, which made a great main meal for Paul. I and it packs both a flavour and colour, which is precisely what a spring salad should do.
Grilled asparagus and courgette salad with haloumi, semi-dried tomatoes and basil oil
Adapted from cooksister.com, originally a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe
350g cherry tomatoes, halved
24 asparagus spears
2 large courgettes
250g haloumi, sliced into 0.5mm thick slices
A large handful of rocket
A little flour
For the basil oil
60ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
25g fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Preheat your oven to 170 C (160 C for a fan oven). Toss the cherry tomatoes in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with a good whack of salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes out skin side down on a baking tray lined with baking parchment paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Trim the hard woody ends off the asparagus and add them to the boiling water. Boil for 4 minutes. Then drain the asparagus and put them in a bowl of cold water. Drain and repeat until the asparagus spears are cold. Toss the asparagus spears in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cut the ends off the courgettes and slice very thinly using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Toss the slices in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Now grill the asparagus spears and courgette slices. You can either do this using a hot griddle pan on the stove top, or like I did it, using a George Foreman grill or similar. Either way you want to grill the veggies until they are just tender and have those sexy grill marks on them. No more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time. If you are going to use a pan I would suggest adding a little oil to it to make sure things don’t stick. Set aside the veg to cool a little.
Lightly dust the haloumi slices in flour and grill for 2 minutes on each side in your griddle plan or on the George Foreman. Set aside to cool a little.
To make the basil oil, put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.
Arrange the rocket leaves in the bottom of a large salad bowl or platter. Arrange the remaining veg and haloumi over the top. Drizzle with basil oil
Serves 2 – 3 as a main course or 4 -6 as a side.