Salad Recipes we all need – By Saawni Pai Raiker

The pandemic got us all cooking and baking, didn’t it? From revisiting traditional dishes to international cuisines we did it all. Food kind of united us at many levels. With days turning to months quicker than expected all the rich food sans exercise started showing. That’s when we decided to bring the health quotient back. The goal was to retain the taste and the balance of flavours. And what better than some refreshing colourful salads to fit the brief? Through this article I’m sharing seven of our family favourites you could try through the week. These can be easily paired with grilled fish or meats of your choice or be had along with a warm soup. 

Salads, as boring as they may sound can be absolutely fulfilling. The use of colours plays an important role. Not just to attract the eater but also in terms of the nutrition. The more colourful the salad is, the richer it is in nutrition value. You can up the acceptance by using any vegetable, fruit dressed in a wide variety of dressings. Make it sweet, sour or peppery the salad is absolutely forgiving. I can vouch for this as I myself have grown building salads over the last few months. 

THE SIMPLEST CHICKEN SALAD

Boneless chicken breast – 250g

Mixed lettuce – two bunches 

French baguette or any other dense bread – half a loaf

Olive oil – 1tsp

For the dressing:

Mayonnaise – ½ cup

English mustard – 2 tbsp

Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cut the chicken breast into bite sized pieces and boil until well done. Set aside and cool.
  2. Cut the bread into croutons. Heat the olive oil in a pan and toss the croutons until golden & crisp. Allow these to cool.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise and mustard in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Wash and wipe the lettuce dry. Tear the leaves and place them in the salad mixing bowl. 
  5. Add in the chicken and the croutons.
  6. Add the dressing and bring the salad together a ladle.

THE ROASTED PUMPKIN SALAD

Pumpkin – 250g

Arugula – one cup

Almonds, slivered – 2 tbsp

Feta cheese – 2 tbsp

Mixed Italian herbs – ¾ tsp

Red chilli flakes – ½ tsp

Crushed black pepper – ¼ tsp

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Salt to taste 

For the dressing:

Balsamic vinegar – 3 tsbps

Olive oil – 4 tbsp

Honey – 2 tbsp

  1. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and place them on a baking tray. 
  2. Drizzle olive oil and season with the mixed Italian herbs, red chilli flakes, crushed pepper and salt to taste.
  3. Roast the pumpkin at 230d for 25mins or until soft and caramalised. Allow it to cool. 
  4. Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake well until emulsified. 
  5. Add the arugula leaves, roasted pumpkin, slivered almonds to a salad bowl.
  6. Add the dressing and mix well.
  7. Garnish with feta cheese and serve.

THE POMBEET

Pomegranate seeds – 1 cup

Beetroot – 1 small

Pineapple, chopped – 1 cup

Green chilli – 1

Lemon – ½ 

Salt to taste 

Fresh coriander for garnish

  1. Boil the beetroot until soft. Cool and cut into small cubes.
  2. Mix the pomegranate seeds, boiled beetroot and chopped pineapple in a salad bowl.
  3. Add the green chilli, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
  4. Allow the salad to rest for 10 mins.
  5. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve. 

THE PURPLE CABBAGE AND APPLE SALAD

Purple cabbage – ¼ head

Apple – 1

Carrot – 1 

Spring onions – 2

For the dressing 

Mayonnaise – ¼ cup

Apple cider vinegar – 3 tbsp

Olive oil – ¼ cup

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Chop the cabbage, core and thinly slice the apples, grate the carrots and cut fine slices of the spring onion bulbs.
  2. Shake the dressing ingredients in a mason jar until emulsified.
  3. Toss the chopped ingredients and the dressing in a salad bowl and serve. 
  4. You can keep this salad in the fridge before adding the dressing for a chilled version.

THE ARUGULA AND PEAR SALAD

Arugula – 1 bunch

Pear – 1

Walnuts – ½ cup

Parmesan cheese shavings 

For the dressing:

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt to taste

  1. Core and thinly slice the pear.
  2. Toast the walnuts in a pan until crisp. Set aside and cool completely.
  3. Mix the arugula, pear and walnuts in a salad bowl
  4. Add the dressing and toss. 
  5. Add the parmesan shavings and serve.

THE RADISH AND CUCUMBER SALAD

Red radish – 1 small

Cucumber – 1 small

Pear – ½

Arugula – 1 bunch

Walnuts – ¼ cup

Feta cheese – 2 tbsp

Dressing:

Olive oil – ¼ cup

White wine vinegar – 2 tbsp

English mustard – 1 tbsp

Honey – 1 tbsp

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice the radish on the mandolin, deseed and chop the cucumber, core and chop the pear and toast the walnuts
  2. Mix all the dressing ingredients in the mason jar and shake until emulsified.
  3. Mix all the salad ingredients in the salad bowl and add the dressing.
  4. Toss and serve.

THE SWEET AND SOUR SALAD

Green apple – 1

Red apple – 1 

Pear – 1 

Cucumber – ½

Lettuce – 1 bunch

Onion – 1 small

Boiled chicken, shredded – ½ cup (optional)

For the dressing:

Olive oil – 1/2 cup 

Red wine vinegar – 3 tbsp 

Honey – 2 tbsp

Salt and pepper to taste 

  1. Core and chop the apples and the pear. 
  2. Deseed and chop the cucumber
  3. Slice the onion 
  4. Shake all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar until emulsified.
  5. Mix the chopped ingredients and the chicken (if using) in the salad bowl. 
  6. Add the dressing and toss.