It’s the headiest time of the year – temperatures are on the rise and we’re heading outside for barbeques and alfresco meals. It’s also that time of year when we’re wearing fewer clothes and suddenly wishing that we hadn’t quite so enthusiastically partaken of those pizza and Netflix evenings over the winter – but fortunately, it’s also during these warmer months that our palates are geared towards lighter foods and fresher flavors. Enter the salad, which is the ideal accompaniment to barbequed meats, and perfect for the more casual, sharing types of meals that the warmer weather encourages.
Gone, though, are the days of pale, watery lettuce accompanied by little more than a few tomato wedges and cucumber slices: today’s salads are hearty, colorful, flavorsome and bold, frequently enough as a meal in themselves! Try one of these at your next family meal or gathering and watch it disappear among a flood of “mmmmmms.”
Bean there, Done That
Bean Salads are a winner for everyone – they’re economical and, thanks to the prevalence of tinned supermarket varieties, easy to come by and require very little preparation. Contrary to popular belief, beans and pulses aren’t just for vegetarians – in fact, they work really well alongside meats. Try this substantial chickpea salad, which will absorb all of those tasty bacon flavors, especially if you make it the night before. If you are vegetarian or catering for those who don’t eat meat, however, embrace the Mediterranean with a salad incorporating antioxidant-rich spinach with white beans, feta, and sundried tomatoes.
Cinderella’s Favorite Salad
Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother had the right idea – the humble pumpkin really is a princess’ coach waiting to happen! This chunky orange vegetable is versatile, tasty and incredibly filling – perfect for bulking out healthy salads without ramping up the calorie factor. Try this pumpkin, haloumi and avocado salad which makes a party in your mouth as well as providing a perfect blend of fats and carbs. And for those who think that pumpkin is only for Thanksgiving (not for life)? No matter what time of year it is right now, head straight for the Fall flavors of this incredibly visually pleasing salad, and you’ll quickly see that the appeal doesn’t stop with the eye: the combination of Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, Apples and Wild Rice, topped with Maple-Glazed Pecans and Dried Cranberries is insane.
Let’s Get Corny
Is it even a salad article if we don’t mention a Cobb? These salad stalwarts are enduringly popular with good reason – they’re amazingly tasty and combine a whole range of flavors and textures. For a classic take on the Cobb salad, go old-school with this recipe, which avoids store-bought blue-cheese dressing and gets you making your own (far tastier!) one. A Caesar Salad is another classic, but put a modern, tasty and nutrient-rich twist on it by using Brussels Sprouts instead of lettuce or switch out the chicken for spicy shrimp.