Lately I’ve been cooking more and trying to eat healthy again. Thank God I love vegetables as much as I love my cheese. Salads, if made using a balance of ingredients can be a complete and healthy meal in themselves.
The trick to a great salad is building a powerful dressing. Most of the times I go with vinaigrette instead of creamy dressings, but I jazz them up with different flavors and that really takes it to the next level.
A good vinaigrette has something acidic like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice or any other citrus, and an oil, olive, mustard, flax-seed or any other oil with a low smoking point and that should be eaten raw. Whisk the acid and the oil till it emulsifies and you have a nice thick sauce. This is your base.
Now you add the flavors. Salt, pepper, herbs, honey, mustard, spices,garlic, ginger etc. Play around with different combinations until you find something you like.
Here are two salads I made a few days ago. I am in love with them. The colours, the flavours, everything is just perfect.
STRAWBERRY LETTUCE SALAD
I got organic strawberries and lettuce courtesy mother’s trip to Mahableshwar. The freshness of the two just screamed salad so I made one using raw honey also from Mahableshwar in the dressing.
For the salad
Gouda shavings (or any other cheese)
For the dressing
Flax seed oil
Fresh crushed pepper
1. Wash and tear the lettuce. An idea that I use is to put the lettuce in the freezer after this step till you make the dressing. Keeps it crisp.
2. Hull the strawberries and cut each one into two or four pieces depending upon the size
3. Cut the onion in whatever way you prefer.
4. Whisk the oil and vinegar in a ratio of 2:1 till it emulsifies. (The ‘correct’ ration is 3:1. I used 2:1. Use whatever you want depending upon your preference)
5. Add the honey, salt and pepper.
6. Mix well
7. Combine the strawberries and lettuce
8. Toss the dressing with the salad
9. Add the Gouda shavings.
Note- Add the dressing just before serving. The salad gets watery otherwise.
SPINACH AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD WITH FETA AND DATES
The mother has been growing a few vegetables and herbs on the terrace for a while now. Her spinach had grown quite well and deserved a salad instead of cooking it and letting its freshness go. So here is a simple salad packed with flavour. Sweet, salty, iron rich and full of vitamins. This is quite the happy meal.
Spinach (the fresher the better)
Fresh crushed pepper
1. Tear the spinach into bite sized pieces.
2. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. You can use diced regular tomatoes. But the yellow cherry ones that I used are just so pretty.
3. Finely chop the dates.
4. Combine all the ingredients, add the salt, pepper and crumbled feta cheese
5. Toss it with a squeeze of lemon juice
There you go, two great salads for a light weekday dinner.