When it’s warm outside you may find yourself wanting light, fresh food that’s quick and easy to prepare. Salads are the ultimate no-cook meal, and they can be adapted to suit your tastes. Serve as a light starter ahead of a main dish, alongside grilled meat, fish or vegetables, or even as a complete meal. You can prepare salads and then pack them up to take to work for lunch, or to the beach or park for a picnic with the family. Of course, the combination of ingredients is entirely up to you, and the possibilities are endless!
A salad is a great way to try out new flavour and texture combinations. For a varied and balanced salad, simply build your own using the following components as a base.
• Base: pick one or mix several; green leaves (lettuce, kale, rocket, spinach), chopped red or white cabbage, pasta, rice, or cooked grains, such as quinoa, bulgur or farro.
• Raw or cooked vegetables: add colour and flavour to your base by arranging some of the following on top; sliced avocado, grated carrots, thinly sliced onions, sliced or cubed peppers, cucumber, or courgette. Sautéed mushrooms and caramelised roasted carrots, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes add extra ‘umami’ flavour.
• Optional protein: to serve as a main course, add some protein to your salad. Steamed or smoked salmon, shredded chicken, hard-boiled eggs or cheese all make great toppings. For a meat-free salad choose tofu, cooked beans, or lentils.
• Fruit: fruit adds freshness and sweetness to a salad; opt for fruit that’s in season to enjoy it at its best. Mango pairs well with salmon, and red berries taste delicious with chicken. Try adding peaches or plums to a fresh mozzarella salad, or topping your leafy salad with dried fruit such as apricot, figs, cranberries or sultanas.
• Crunchy toppings: the key to a great salad is a mixture of textures, so try sprinkling a handful of nuts, seeds, croutons or tortilla strips over your assembled salad. To intensify the flavours, toast the nuts and the seeds before using.
• Other toppings: olives, fresh herbs, sprouts, anchovies, capers and pickles will make your salad even more delicious!
• Dressing: to finish, drizzle over your favourite dressing. Dressings are so easy with Thermomix®; try the Orange and Poppy Seed Yoghurt Dressing for freshness, or the Japanese Sesame Dressing for an exotic taste.
Above all, have fun with your salad making! Get creative and mix and match ingredients with different textures, flavours and colours. Serve your salad mixed in a bowl or a lunchbox, presented in layers in a jar, or served separately on a tray for guests to pick and choose. Use serving rings to plate the salad ingredients elegantly. For salads containing green leaves, remember to add the dressing just before serving to keep everything fresh and crisp.
• Wash lettuce and other ingredients: use the Varoma dish to wash vegetables and fruit under running water, then cover with the Varoma lid and shake well to remove the excess water.
• Chop: chop soft vegetables, fruit or hard-boiled eggs 3-4 sec/speed 4; for hard vegetables, 3-4 sec/speed 5 will work well. To chop lettuce, place leaves in mixing bowl, cover with approx. 1000 g water and chop 10 sec/speed 4. Then drain through Varoma dish.
• Shred: place deboned, cooked meat without any sauce in mixing bowl and shred 4-5 sec//speed 4.