6 salad recipes for absolute beginners

Have you ever decided to eat healthier and started your diet with so much positivity, only to lose all your enthusiasm by the second day?

I too was faced with a similar problem. No matter how motivated you are, the routine gets boring after a while.

Well not anymore! Here are 5 recipes sure to keep you interested in your diet.

 

1. Orange, Paneer, Tamarind Salad

 

orange paneer tamarind salad

The original recipe uses mangoes but mangoes are seasonal fruits and it is also more expensive and rarer to get them out of India. The contrast between the sweetness, sourness, and spiciness makes the salad simply perfect.

 

Recipe from: Fresh India

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  •  3 banana shallots, thinly sliced
  • 450g hard paneer (an Indian cheese – frozen paneer packets shld b available in supermarkets)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • salt
  • 2 mandarin oranges (can be substituted with mangoes if available)
  • 120g mixed salad leaves
  • 15g mint leaves, chopped
  • 20g coriander, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2cm ginger, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions:

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat on a non-stick pan. cook the shallots till soft. Add paneer and cook for 4 min. Add tamarind paste and 3/4 tsp salt ans stir fry for a minute. Take off heat.  Add the fruits, salad leaves, mint and coriander in a large bowl. Add in the chilli and garlic (thinly sliced). For the dressing, mix in the lime juice with the honey, 1/4 tsp salt and remaining oil. Toss everything together.

2. Tomato, Chickpea Salad with Lime Tarka

tarka

Tarka is an Indian cooking technique where spices are added to very hot ghee/oil/butter. When the spice seeds are added to the hot oil, they pop and sizzle bringing out the intense flavors and aromas.

Recipe from: Fresh India

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g chickpeas, drained
  • 500g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 tsp cumin powder, grounded / cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 70g cashews
  • 2 tbsp lime/lemon juice
  • 40g coriander

Directions:

Heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat and stir fry chickpeas (it should always be soaked in water overnight) till crispy. Add tomatoes and spring onions. In another pan, heat ghee or butter till melted. Add cumin, chillies, pepper, salt and cashews. Fry till the cashews are golden brown. Mix in lime juice. Toss everything together and garnish with coriander.

3. Caprese Salad

IMG_20170516_150934_109

Caprese is a  simple Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella (ideally Buffalo mozzarella), tomatoes, and green basil to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green. In Italy, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter)

Recipe from: The Yellow Table

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 226g buffalo mozzarella/soft mozzarella cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • bread, preferably rye to serve with (optional)

Directions:

Alternate tomato and mozzarella slices. scatter the basil leaves and cherry tomatoes on top. Pour the vinegar in a bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad.

4. Greek Peasant Salad

20170514_132114

A rural dish, the salad’s essential ingredients were often what a farmer would take to the field for his mid-morning snack, only he would keep the ingredients uncut and wrapped in a cloth with a piece of bread.  When the time came, he would bite straight into his chunk of feta, his tomato and even  his onion

Recipe from: The Yellow Table

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (substitute apple cider vinegar with sugar in equal parts)
  • 1 english cucumber, cubed
  • 475g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 60g feta cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olives
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pita/bread to be served with (optional)

Directions:

Stir in the onion into the vinegar. Set aside for 10min. Add cucumber, tomatoes, feta, olives and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper and toss together.

5. Watermelon and Feta Salad

20170510_195630

A sweet and sour salad to tantalise your senses

 

Recipe from: Around the World in Salads

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8g mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar (substitute lemon juice)
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 500g watermelon, cubed
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 150g cucumber, cubed

Directions:

Whizz the mint leaves, the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together in a blender till smooth flecked with green. Add the watermelon, cheese and cucumber in a large bowl. Gently mix in the dressing.

6. Mexican quinoa, Feta and Corn salad in a jar

IMG_20170515_192413_714

Delicious and aesthetically pleasing…

Recipe from: Around the World in Salads

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 80g Quinoa
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 120g cooked sweetcorn
  • 80g feta cheese, crumbled
  • a few whole cherry tomatoes
  • a handful salad leaves
  • a handful coriander, roughly torn
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Cook quinoa by boiling with twice the amount of water as quinoa. Bring to simmer and cooks about 15-20min. In a jar, add lime juice, olive oil and seasoning. Swirl together. Top with sweetcorn, followed by feta. Next add quinoa, the tomatoes and finally the leaves. Let it rest for a few min.

7. Salsa

20170514_132239

Surprise, another recipe! Not really a salad but the perfect dish to indulge in when you are craving for a tasty flavourful snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder/ 1 garlic clove very thinly sliced
  • 400g tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • coriander
  • olive oil

Directions:

Add everything in a large bowl and mix well.

 

Despite all the measurements given, I felt the salads turned out best when I approximately gauged the amount of ingredients to be added rather than following to recipes to the dot. It is fun to play with the proportions of the different ingredients. Each time you tweak the measurements you get new flavours and textures. If you are planning on staying on a diet long term I would recommend reading Around the World in Salads:120 ways to love your leaves by Katie Caldesi. I seriously love the book. The author adds a personal touch to each recipe and also gives you invaluable tips on how to create your own salad. You will never get bored of “just salads” ever again!

 

Till next time…

 

 

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