Salad suggestions

Down South, the days are getting longer. After a wet winter, it’s nice to know summer is almost here. So many elements that contribute to well being seem easier to achieve when the days are longer and the weather is warmer.

Exercise becomes easier – no more running with a headlamp in the mornings and skidding on black ice! And with more fresh fruit and veges around, some even available at home due to a green fingered hubby, healthy eating is also simpler.

Salads are our go to at this time of year. The kids will happily tuck into a standard green leafy salad (as long as there is nothing too exotic in there) and with a bit of meat on the side, meal times are easy.

Sunday is salad making day. I try to make two or three ahead of time and use them for meals up to mid-week and in lunches – rolls, pita pockets or on their own. Here’s a few of my favourites adapted over the years:

Brown rice salad –¬†Cook a cup of brown rice until water is absorbed. Roast some pumpkin and sunflower seeds and set aside. Mix lemon juice, soy sauce, crushed clove garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil in a container and shake. Put the rice in a bowl and let it cool. Add some chopped spring onion, red pepper, cashew nuts, cranberries and parsley. Pour over the dressing and mix through.

Beetroot salad – Grate a small beetroot and a carrot. Prepare a cup of bulgur wheat and let it stand. Once cool, mix wheat through vegetables with a fork. Mix a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with some chopped parley and lemon juice. Mix dressing though vegetables. Great in pita pockets.

Pasta and broccoli salad –¬†chop a small head of broccoli and put in in a heat proof dish. Cover with boiling water, cover with tee towel and leave for a minute. Toss with cooked pasta (penne or orzo). Add a few tablespoons of pesto and some chopped sundried tomoatoes. Add some crumbed feta and squeeze some lemon juice over before serving.

Cauliflower salad – Pulse 1/2 a head of cauliflower with some clove garlic, finely chopped red onion and parsley in a food processor until the cauliflower looks like fine rice (I do this in batches). Add lemon juice and zest from half a lemon a pinch of turmeric and cumin and pulse again. Remove mixture into bowl then add: 1 stalk of diced celery, 1/2 a diced red pepper, 1 grated carrot, some cranberries. Mix all together and sprinkle with crushed pistachio nuts (or not). This is also great in pita pockets and with cauliflower as the main feature, can be made in winter too – just substitute the red pepper for red onion.

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