How to fall in love with salad

Poor salad, it gets a bad rap sometimes. Let’s face it, sometimes the criticism is warranted. Sometimes salad really lets you down. We’ve all been to the pub before and had our schnitty with a side of soggy lettuce, tomato and cucumber. No schnitty deserves that. But I’m here to tell you that salads need not be soggy and boring! When done right, the salad with your schnitty can be like the Mike to your Harvey (drool).

This is going to sound super cliche coming from a Dietitian, but I love salads! I’m a fan of the good old garden salad, but never on it’s own. Anyone who knows me knows that I get hangry very easily, and a garden salad simply won’t keep away the short-tempered, hungry version of me. But, when you pair a basic garden salad full of fresh ingredients with something like a beautiful piece of steak or salmon it can be so satisfying! That said, sometimes you need to up your salad game. Go on, spread your wings, test the waters!

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I still love you garden salad, but I think we should see other salads. I need more in life than just lettuce.

So after getting to know the other salads out there, I’ve come to learn that it’s about quality, not quantity. Most often, the best salads are those that don’t have a million different ingredients. I find the best salads are those that focus on just a few well-matched ingredients that are married together with a fresh dressing. That’s when you’ll truly fall in love with salads and you may even find the one!

I can’t say I’ve found the one yet, but my Spiced Lentil and Carrot salad and Pea and Mint salad are definite contenders. Try them for yourself and see if you fall for them too.

Em xx

Spiced Lentil and Carrot Salad 

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch baby carrots, washed and green ends trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 can lentils, rinsed and drained
  • Half bunch spring onions, white ends finely sliced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • Small tub (about 200g) natural or greek yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves, plus additional for garnish (for all you haters out there, you could try parsley/your favourite fresh herb or simply omit, it won’t be as good though!)

Preheat oven to 180C. Bake carrots in a drizzle of olive oil for 15-20 minutes or until just tender. Set aside.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a fry pan over med-high heat. Add the lentils, spring onion, paprika, ground coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Cook briefly, stirring, until the spring onion starts to just soften. Remove from the heat.

To make the dressing, mix together the yoghurt, lemon juice, vinegar and chopped coriander leaves. Season to taste.

To serve, place the lentils in a bowl, followed by the carrots and dressing. Garnish with additional coriander leaves and enjoy!

Pea and Mint Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch baby cos lettuce
  • Handful of snow peas, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3/4 cup frozen baby peas
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • Small handful mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Half fill a medium size bowl with water and ice cubes, set aside. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the snow peas and baby peas. Cook for about 1-2 minutes (the snow peas should still be crunchy). Drain and place immediately in the iced water. This will stop the cooking process and keep your peas green and crunchy.

To make the dressing, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar, If you have a small jar, shaking the ingredients together in the jar is an easy way to mix.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large plate (you could also tear up the lettuce leaves and serve in a bowl). Drain the snow peas and baby peas well and add these on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle with the parmesan and mint leaves. Pour over your preferred amount of dressing and enjoy!

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