For weeks now my three year old daughter has determined to bring on summer by wearing shorts and t-shirts, thongs and sun hats (inside and out) despite the chilly mornings, brisk breezes and and weak sunshine. She is so longing for those hot summer days that at the first sign of some warmth and sun she was begging me to get her little pool out. Sadly her ploy to bring on the most favoured of all seasons for her has not worked and the weather had remained staunchly wintry (well, we have had a couple of lovely sunny days and even got out of the teens once or twice, but on the whole it’s been cold). Me on the otherhand have attempted to hasten our journey through the year to those much anticipated long summer days by bringing out the salads a little early. To be honest it’s probably still ‘soup’ weather, but I’m craving the crispness and variety of salads. So here are my top five main meal salads (as in dinner, any salad makes a good lunch but I need a bit more oomph to a salad to convince Mr Good it’s a meal on it’s own).
1. Caesar Salad
This would probably rank as one of Mr Good’s top five meals full stop. And who could argue with a salad that has bacon, egg, crispy croutons and parmesan cheese. We also often add some cold cooked chicken and a little avocado. I whip up a quick anchovy dressing while the bits and pieces are cooking and dinner is on the table in about fifteen minutes.
2. Gremolata Lamb Salad
Farfalle pasta, blanched green beans and asparagus and grilled lamb backstrap are the main components of this salad. The lamb is spread with a little dijon mustard and then the gremolata before being sliced. Toss this together with the pasta and greens, add spring onions, pine nuts and some more parsley and finally dress with a lemon dijon mustard dressing and there you have it.
3. Thai Beef Salad
I’m sure everyone has a recipe for this one so I won’t bore you with that. We love it with good quality sirloin steak, lots of mint, some cucumber and peanuts for added crunch and optional chilli (for Mr Good and I to add to ours). To give a bit more body I also sometimes add some rice vermicelli.
4. Roasted vegetable salad with baby spinach
This one is a creation of my Mum’s and each time either she or I make it, it’s a bit different. It’s one of those things you can throw together with whatever you have around but the basic idea is this. Roast some root vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, chat potatoes), allow to cool. Then toss them with some baby spinach leaves, halved cherry tomatoes and avocado and dress with a seeded mustard dressing.
5. Gypsy ham salad with mustard vinaigrette
The main players in this salad are snow peas, semi-dried tomatoes, baby spinach and ham, all chopped roughly (just trim the snow peas), and toss together. Make the dressing by combining garlic, white vinegar, parsley, grated ginger, wholegrain mustard and extra virgin olive oil.
There are a few obvious omissions here – cous cous salad, pasta salad (though the lamb one did have pasta in it) and something with rice perhaps – because I just don’t have any inspiring recipes for these. I would also add the Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw which was Liz’s recipe, but I already had a chicken one. So what are your favourite salads and do you consider salad to be a suitable evening meal on it’s own?
Sorry for the lack of photos, I had some saved but lost them in the great hard-drive crash of 2012.