If you are anything like me, you are quite happy to knock up quick healthy salads from whatever you have to hand without the aid of a recipe. If however you feel more comfortable with a set of instructions, scroll down for a few recipes and ideas for bringing flavours and colours together, but I do hope you will come out of your little shell, branch out, experiment with the recipes and chop and change them a bit to suit your own tastes.
Don't be restricted to just tomatoes cucumber and lettuce. Dare to try out new things.
Add fruit, nuts and cooked veg.
Use up leftovers - mix them up with a bit of mayo. I mean a bit. This is all about real food and mayonnaise is not something that grows in the field, so, it's up to you, but just a little is all that's needed if you can't do without.
Add protein and texture with lentils and beans
Throw in seeds, spices and fresh herbs.
Mix up a healthy dressing of your own using lemon juice or balsamic vinegar infused with your favourite herbs and spices.
Try to keep it colourful as well as tasty
Soon you will discover that there is so much variety and so many millions of combinations that you will be able to produce a different salad every time.
But just for now here are a few of my own concoctions for you to try out, or adapt to your own tastes.
First a recipe combination of leftover ingredients from when I was topping pizzas.
Some grated cheddar cheese, fried leeks, boiled potatoes (yes I make leek and potato pizzas, why not?) some sliced raw onion and a little mozzarella.
all chopped up and mixed together
Instead of plain mayonnaise I used a teaspoon of tartar sauce and a teaspoon of horseradish sauce. Generally I usually avoid sauces, but just a little here makes a huge difference. You don't need much at all.
Mix it all up. (In fact it turned out that half the amount of dressing I put in would have been adequate)
Serve with green leaves - I used spinach - as a tasty starter or side dish, or use as a sandwich filling
This turned out to be an excellent combination, but you can do this with all sorts of leftover cooked and raw vegetables. You could add mashed boiled egg and meat eaters can add chopped cold meat, tinned tuna and such like
Chinese noodles, tagliatelle, spaghetti or any long thin pasta cooked, rinsed and cooled all make for a fun base for your favourite salad mix.
This is one which I used as part of a party buffet.
To make an identical salad (all amounts are very approximate) you will need:
200g or 8oz of raw dried pasta or noodles.
The same weight of raw green beans.
A bunch of leafy celery. Slice through all the stems and leaves from the top until you have a handful.
Sweet red pepper. I used a long pointy one which was easily cut into long strips to complement the shape of the beans and tagliatelle.
Toss in some herbs and spices of your choice and toss in the tiniest amount of oil and vinegar.
Not everyone's favourite and certainly not my daughters, who arrived at my house with a pot of olives and a bunch of crisp juicy radishes.
I tried, as I always have, to persuade her that even if you don't like raw radishes they are delicious boiled, steamed or stir fried and taste totally different when cooked, but she wasn't having any of it. Olives? I don't think anyone likes them when they first taste them. You have to sample them a few times and surprisingly the more you eat them the more delicious they become. But she just won't believe me.
Anyhow she brought them round from an organic recipe box she bought and these were the 2 ingredients she just didn't want to include in her meals. So what did I do?
Hmmm - the olive and radish salad did actually work quite well with Chinese cabbage a burger and a wholemeal bagel. (That is if you happen to like olives and radish).
We also had some on a burger bun for a snack the next day with cheddar cheese and mint sauce
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