Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Salad Days (and Nights!)
I once heard someone say they didn't eat salad because they couldn't live on "boring rabbit food".
This surprised me because all the salads I eat are full of color, crunch and most importantly - FLAVOUR!
Salad doesn't need to be boring and if you call a couple of sad iceberg lettuce leaves and a wrinkly tomato a salad, think again and get creative!
Use whatever vegetables are in the fridge and for a complete meal, make sure there's some good quality protein into the mix, for example, tofu, chicken or fish
Get creative with colours, choose vegetables (and even fruits) you've never thought of using before.
Start with some kind of base, like spinach leaves or rocket.
Finely chopped cabbage & grated carrot is the usual base for coleslaw, try using wombok (chinese cabbage) instead; this works especially well with corriander.
Red: capsicum, radish, tomato, apple, red onion
Radish is my new favourite, thinly sliced, it adds a great flavour and texture.
Orange: carrot, slow roasted pumpkin or sweet potato, orange segments (go well with finely chopped fennel)
Green: alfalfa, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, bok choy, beans, cucumber, grapes, peas (throw in a handful of frozen peas and let them defrost in the salad), spring onion, shallots
Lightly steamed vegetables like potato, cauliflower and broccoli also work well once they have cooled.
Dressing: I'm all for it. Low-fat? No Way.
Did you know that without any fat content absorption of vitamins A (eg. carrots, asparagus, broccoli) D, E or K are inhibited? Use dressing sparingly, a tablespoon is plenty.
For creamy coleslaw dressing that delivers flavour and health benefits, use a tablespoon of natural yoghurt and balsamic vinegar; for an extra bite add a teaspoon of wasabi or horseradish cream to the yoghurt instead.
Replace olive oil with flaxseed and mix with balsamic vinegar for an omega 3 boost. Make sure you buy cold pressed flaxseed oil and always store it in the fridge.
Experiment with herbs: finely chopped handfuls of parsely and mint are great with leafy greens and tomato (take that "rabbit food" guy!). Fennel is very much in season right now and gives a light aniseed flavour. I also like to sprinkle some pumpkin and sunflower seeds on top for a nutty crunch.
Limited only by your imagination (okay, and possibly allergies) try different combinations of flavours and textures. Unless you keep gourmet rabbits, they won't get a look-in!