It’s 2022 and so many of us still believe the conspiracy that salads are boring. Now don’t get us wrong, if you’re ordering a side salad of a few lettuce leaves and a tomato if you’re really lucky, that is pretty dry. But you’re missing out if you think that’s the only way to have a salad. The weather is warm, the paddling pools are out and we’ve all dusted off our BBQs by now. It’s the perfect time to perfect your salad game, and we’re here to help. These recipes are also easy to adapt to your preference, or to whatever’s leftover in the kitchen! Read on for three delectable dishes that will change your life. Ok maybe not, but they are pretty good.
Salad #1: Rainbow salad with tahini dressing
The best part of a rainbow salad is obviously the vibrant colours. The colours in fruit and veg represent different types of nutrition. So, the more colours - the better! A rainbow salad is so good for our health because it involves such a wide variety of nutritious foods that have a wide variety of benefits.
Let’s get stuck in.
Ideally, you want to make sure you include a good amount of fruit and veg, a bit of protein, some carbs and a grain of your choice. Grains you could choose might be couscous, pasta, quinoa or rice. Make sure to get a good carb in there too: potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a healthy fat - olive oil, nuts or avocado are great options. For protein, you might add tofu, beans or nuts for a plant-based option, or an egg or meat of some sort otherwise.
The way to build a good rainbow salad is to choose 1-3 foods from each colour. Here’s a few examples to give you an idea:
Tomatoes, red bell peppers, pomegranate seeds, apple
Sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers, carrot, nectarine
Yellow bell peppers, potatoes, sweetcorn
Green (choose a leaf for the base then add a few others)
Spinach, kale, rocket, avocado, cucumber, celery
Blue or purple
Beetroot, figs, red cabbage, blueberries
For the dressing:
Tahini, or smooth peanut butter
Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
And that’s all you gotta’ do really! Just bung it all in your favourite salad bowl, whisk up the dressing and combine!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Salad #2: Tabbouleh salad
If you’re looking for an exotic twist, this classic Mediterranean salad is great for those summer BBQs or brunches.
You will need:
½ cup bulgur wheat or quinoa
Half of a cucumber, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt - halved
3 handfuls fresh parsley, chopped
1 handful fresh mint, chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
⅓ cup olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove crushed garlic
Cook bulgur wheat or quinoa according to packet instructions, drain and set aside to cool. Combine tomato and cucumber in a bowl with half of the teaspoon of sea salt and let the mixture sit for 5-10 mins.
Chop parsley and put in a separate bowl. Add the cooked bulgur wheat or quinoa and spring onions. Strain cucumber and tomatoes and add to the parsley mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and the other half teaspoon of salt. Pour the mixture into the salad and combine.
Taste test, add any extras to adjust the flavour according to your preference.
For the best flavour, let the salad sit for around 15 minutes before serving.
Salad #3: Chickpea pasta salad
Ok we’re going everything plant-based for this salad, because we care about your health and the environment - check us out!
So this chickpea pasta salad is a straight up substitute for a tuna salad with a great amount of nutrition!
You will need:
1 tin chickpeas
2 tbsp mayo (plant-based if you’re going for it!)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
75g chosen pasta (wholewheat for extra health points!)
½ red onion
Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.
Rinse the chickpeas in cold water. Top tip: to make the mashing easier, quickly rinse in warm water before mashing to soften the chickpeas. Roughly mash the chickpeas in a bowl with the back of a fork. Add mayo, onion, herbs and spices and mix. Season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste.
Whack it all in a bowl, give it a mix and garnish with some parsley before serving.
Simple as that.
Final note: There you go, three super simple and easy salads that are just perfect for a light summer dinner or BBQ side dish. And you can use whatever you’ve got leftover in the cupboards or the fridge to suit your taste and preferences. They’re easy to adapt to different dietary requirements, and more importantly, they’re so damn tasty!