Summer Salads

Summer Salads

Here comes the remedy to sweet nachos! Whilst I’m normally a sweet tooth person, it’s unfortunately impossible to live off desserts alone. But I’ve found that a good way of justifying the occasional dessert is a nice leafy salad. They are easy, quick to make and are a great way of getting your 5-a-day. We’ve also hit this great time of year, between summer and autumn, when fresh local produce is in abundance. In the UK we’re so lucky to have the variety and quality of foods that we do, and this is the best time to use them raw, which means it’s time to start the salads. Below are my top three salad combos, which are perfect for these final summer days.

Chicken Pesto Salad

Chicken and pesto is one of the best flavour combinations out there and I think this salad is a great way to combine them. In my family we often have left over chicken from our Sunday roast and this salad is a really good way of using it up. Simply tear the chicken off the carcass and store in the fridge for up to 3 days, then use the shredded chilled chicken instead of the chicken breasts. This prevents waste, is cheaper and also gives the chicken that nice meaty taste that I find you only get from roasting. Alternatively, if you have a griddle pan or BBQ you can also cook the chicken on that instead of in a pan, which would give a nice smoky flavour and beautiful char lines to the meat.

Serves 2

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 Chicken breasts (thighs also work well)
  • 1 Red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 40g Pine nuts
  • 80g Baby spinach
  • 150g Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 25g Feta
  • 2 tbsp Basil pesto

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Put ½ tbsp of the oil into a pan and put on a medium heat. Chop the chicken breast into pieces and then fry in the oil for 5-10 minutes. To check if the meat is cooked, cut into one of the larger pieces and see if the middle is still pink. If it is then leave to cook for a few more minutes before testing another piece. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. In another pan put the rest of the oil and place over a medium heat. Add the red pepper and pine nuts and heat until the peppers are softened and the nuts begin to brown. Set to one side.
  3. Take a large platter or 2 plates (whatever you want to serve the salad on) and lay out the spinach leaves. Top with the chicken, tomatoes, peppers and nuts. Crumble the feta over the salad and top with a swirl of the pesto. Serve and enjoy!

Chilli Salmon Salad

This salad is light and refreshing, but it also has a packs a good punch from the chilli, lemon and watercress. As salmon is a rich source of omega 3 it’s also great brain food – perfect for packed lunches, al-fresco dining and sharing with friends. To bulk it out some more I’d recommend serving it with lime leaf and lemon rice. Simply boil rice in water as you usually would, but add 2-3 kaffir limes leaves (found in the fresh herbs section in supermarkets) into the water. When serving remove the leaves and top the rice with some lemon zest. This can help turn this dish from a starter or side into a filling lunch or main meal.

Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a starter

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Salmon filets
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • 150g Asparagus
  • 90g Green peas
  • ½ Red pepper, sliced
  • 80g Cashew nuts
  • 40g Watercress
  • 40g Rocket
  • 25ml Sweet chilli sauce

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Place the salmon onto foil and drizzle with 1tbsp of the oil. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze half of it onto the salmon. Wrap the foil around the fish and put into the oven to cook for around 15 minutes, until the flesh is no longer translucent and flakes when prodded with a knife. Remove the skin from the back of the fish and set aside to cool.
  2. Take the asparagus and cut about a thumbs length off the bottom to remove the woody ends. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the asparagus and the peas. Boil for 1 minute, until a sharp knife goes into the stem of the asparagus easily. Drain using a sieve and set to one side.
  3. In a small pan heat the rest of the oil and add the sliced red pepper. Add the cashew nuts and fry until the pepper has softened and the nuts begin to brown, it should less than 5 minutes.
  4. Take a large platter to serve the salad on and arrange the watercress and rocket. Lay the asparagus on the leaves and then scatter pieces of the salmon on top. Scatter the peas, nuts and peppers over the salad. Drizzle with the chilli sauce and serve with wedges of the lemon.

Parma Ham and Nectarine Salad

This salad is simple and easy to make, but still tastes incredible. If you want an impressive dinner party starter which takes little time, or just a quick tasty lunch, this is the one for you.

Serves 2

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 80g Rocket
  • 1 Nectarine, stone removed and cut into slices
  • 4 slices of Parma ham
  • 50g Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 50g Feta cheese
  • 50ml Balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Lay the rocket onto a plate or platter (whatever you want to serve it on).
  2. Arrange the nectarine pieces on top of the rocket.
  3. Cut the slices of Parma ham in two and place between the nectarine pieces.
  4. Scatter the walnuts and then crumble the feta over the salad.
  5. Just before serving drizzle the vinegar over the salad.

 

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