Whatever you’re doing this summer keep things colourful with these delicious salads which are quick and easy to make and taste great as light lunches or as side dishes with a BBQ. What’s more they’re kid friendly and full of key vitamins and minerals to keep the little ones full of nature’s energy. Packed full of variety and fresh ingredients. Eat a rainbow and you might just find your very own pot of gold!
1.Carrot and Cranberry Salad
Ingredients: 6 carrots, 50g cranberries, 5-6 large basil leaves, cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper
Preparation: 10 minutes
1. Wash, peel and grate the carrots and throw into a large mixing bowl.
2. Toss in the cranberries and sliced basil leaves.
3. Mix 1/3 cider vinegar to 2/3 olive oil (1 tbsp vinegar to 2 tbsp oil) and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. And that’s it!
Tip: If you like a bit of added crunch then throw in some pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or whatever takes your fancy.
2.New Potato Salad with red onion, chives and mint
Ingredients (for 10 people): 2kg new potatoes, 1/2 sweet red onion, bunch of chives (c. 15 blades), 3 large stalks of mint, mayonnaise, olive oil, salt, pepper, wholegrain mustard, salt and pepper
Preparation: 15 mins prep + 30 mins cooking + 15 mins cooling time.
1. Half the new potatoes and place in a pan of salted tepid water and bring to the boil.
Tip: I favour tepid water so that the potatoes gradually come to the boil with the water. When I’ve placed potatoes directly in boiling water I find they fall apart more easily later on in the cooking process. And likewise using cold water I tend to over cook them and the potatoes become waterlogged.
2. Once boiling, reduce the temperature down and simmer (partially covered) for c. 20-30 mins controlling at regular intervals with a knife to check the potatoes don’t over cook. You want them soft but firm ready to mix with your dressing.
3. Whilst the potatoes are simmering, prepare the herbs and dressing directly in a large mixing bowl.
4. Place one large tablespoon of mayonniase in the mixing bowl. Add in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and some salt and pepper. Stir together until you have combined all the ingredients well for a light mayonnaise dressing.
5. Finely slice the 1/2 red onion into wafer thin slices. Chop the chives in 1cm long lengths (I use scissors to chop the whole bunch simultaneously) and with a large knife finely chop the mint leaves (strip the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks).
6. Add the onions and herbs into the dressing and combine.
7. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and quickly run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave to cool for a further 10-15 minutes before adding in to the dressing.
8. Once slightly cooled add in about a third of the potatoes and stir into the dressing, then add in the second third and final third in stages to ensure you get good coverage on all the potatoes.
Tip: If you pour in all the potatoes you risk mashing them as you mix with the dressing.
9. Once nicely combined transfer into a serving dish and top with a few last bits of chopped chive and some mint leaves.
10. The end result is a delicious potato salad, easy on the mayo to ensure the flavours of the ingredients shine through, that can be eaten whilst still slightly warm or chilled, as per your preference.
3.Asian Bean Salad
Ingredients: 400g tin borlotti beans, 400g tin chick peas, 200g tin kidney beans, 200g tin (or better yet fresh) bean sprouts, 1 red spring onions, bunch fresh coriander, soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, salt and pepper
Tip: You can use any combination of beans you have available and/or boiled dried beans as opposed to tins if you’re happy to boil them up first.
Preparation: 10 mins (what could be easier?!)
1. Open all the tins and rinse the beans in a sieve under a cold water and leave to drain. If using fresh bean sprouts you can add them in later.
2. Preheat the grill for your sesame seeds.
3. Finely chop the red spring onion and coriander leaves (save some coriander to sprinkle on top).
4. In a mixing bowl combine 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 level tablespoon runny honey, salt (small amount as soy sauce already very salty) and pepper and mix well.
5. Take c. 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and place on a baking tray and grill for literally 1 minute until toasted golden.
6. Combine all the ingredients in the mixing bowl with the dressing and mix well before transferring into a serving dish.
7. Sprinkle with the last of the coriander to serve.
Ingredients: Mixed Lettuce (I’ve used 3 kinds from my garden including a red leafed variety and some rocket), boiled eggs, tuna, black olives, tomatoes, avocado (optional), anchovies, For the dressing olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, sugar, shallots
Preparation: 15-20 mins
- Portions as per number of people you are catering for. Allow 1 egg, 1 tomato, 1/4 advocado, 1/2 tin tuna per person and a generous helping of lettuce. the olives and anchovies are for garnish so you can use as few or as many as you like.
- Hard boil the eggs for 10 mins and then leave to cool in cold water until you are able to peel.
- Wash and drain the salad leaves and then shred by hand into a large salad bowl.
- Chop the advocado into bite sized chunks and sprinkle across the salad.
- Crumble the tinned tuna across the salad. (You can also make using fresh tuna steaks for a more sophisticated evening salad in which case place your griddled / bbq’d steak alongside the salad).
- Quarter the tomatoes or cut into eigths if using larger salad tomatoes and sprinkle around the bowl.
- Half or quarter the eggs and place around the salad.
- lastly sprinkle on the olives and lay a few anchovies across the top of the salad.
- For a finishing touch I also added some chopped basil to top my salad off although this isn’t strictly part of an authentic nicoise salad.
- For the dressing mix 1tsp mustard, 1 tbsp vinegar and 3 tbsp of olive oil and add in a pinch of salt, sugar and ground black pepper. For larger volumes just replicate 1-3 mix ratio of vinegar and oil and add in the mustard to create your desired thickness.
- Bon appetit!
Ingredients for 4: 1 large cucumber, 4 large salad tomatoes, 1 pack 150g Feta, 1/4 red onion or 2 red spring onions, Greek olives, oregano (fresh or dried), salt & pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar
Preparation: 10-15 mins
1. Wash and partially peel the cucumber (stripes) so you have some flashes of green but not the full skin. Chop into large uneven chunks to create texture in the salad.
2. Wash the tomatoes, half and cut out the point where the stem enters the tomato (Call me superstitious but I was always told to do this as if tomatoes are treated using pesticides then this is where the chemicals enter). Chop into chunky slices and then half again till you have bite sized chunks.
3. In a large salad bowl add the tomatoes and cucumber and toss in as many greek olives as you desire. If you don’t have greek olives then the recipe can work just as well with other varieties. I favour a mix between black olives and stuffed green olives with pimento.
4. Thinly slice the 1/4 red onion or the red spring onions and toss into the salad along with some freshly chopped oregano or finely ground dried oregano.
5. Dress with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Mix well before finally adding in your chopped Feta. I always add it last so that it doesn’t get too beaten up when you toss the salad.
Enjoy the summer!