Summer Salad Masterclass
Gone are the days when a salad was summed up by some limp lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumber. At my recent ‘Salad Masterclass’ we created some delicious tasting and beautifully prepared dishes using an abundance of ingredients .
Summertime lunches and dinners should be served with an appetizing salad. This kind of food will keep us cool along with lighter cooking styles. Be creative and try the amazing array of tasty oils and vinegars available. Ume Plum vinegar is one of my favourites. Use nuts and seeds such as toasted pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds to add some ‘crunch’ to your salads. Crunchy, Chewy and Creamy are basic textures we need to feel satisfied. Add some ‘living’ sprouts, I sprout mung beans, alfalfa and broccoli seeds, they add taste, crunch and deliver wonderful health benefits. Or keep it simple by adding some mixed leaves to a bowl with a slice of lemon as below.
The body enjoys the variety of cooked and fresh foods so mix and match throughout the summer to keep your digestive system strong.
Eating a low-calorie salad before your main meals can help you to lose weight and ensure you get recommended daily intake of vegetables. And it’s not rocket science as to how it works for weight loss, the key is the sheer volume of a salad, which makes you feel too full to overeat when it comes to your main meal. You need to make sure you don’t drown it in a fatty dressing though – a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes the perfect healthy accompaniment to a fresh salad or try some of these delicious tasting dressings below.
Iceberg & Herb Salad with Walnut Oil & Balsamic Vinegar
Clearspring firm/silken tofu
Red Onion very thinly sliced
Tomato, thinly sliced
Reduce balsamic vinegar
Drain the tofu and pat dry with paper towel. Cut into thin slices and set aside. Depending on the amount of servings you require use whatever quantities work for you. Wash, dry and tear the iceberg leaves into pieces and place in a salad bowl. Add some parsley and coriander leaves, the sliced onion and tomato along with some tofu slices. Drizzle with the walnut oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. Mix gently so as not to break the tofu and serve in individual salad bowls.
Quinoa with Salad Greens & Radishes
1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
2 cups water
Fresh salad greens such as rocket, watercress
1 small bunch of red radishes, very thinly sliced
Basic Salad Dressing (see below)
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a pan and simmer on a very low heat 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove to a large bowl and leave to cool then fluff up with a fork. Add the fresh salad greens and radishes to a large salad bowl and pour over some of the dressing. Stir in the quinoa and serve.
Basic Salad Dressing
1 handful parsley
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Umeboshi Vinegar
1 tbsp Shoyu
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
Place all the ingredients into a blender. Adjust ingredients according to taste. Store in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator and keep for up to 5 days.
Orange Ume Plum Dressing
This is a delicious dressing served on fresh greens or noodle salads in the summer or even over a selection of steamed vegetables or fresh steamed greens.
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of 1 ½ oranges
2 teaspoons umeboshi puree
1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onion or chives
2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
Pour the sesame seeds into a blender. Add all the other ingredients except the spring onions or chives, and blend until smooth. Mix the spring onion or chives in at the end, and chill for half an hour before serving.
In good heath,