I know that there’s bit of a stigma attached to salads – ‘rabbit food’, ‘boring’, ‘not filling’, blah blah blahh. Well my friend, if that’s what you think of when you think of salads, you haven’t tried a good one! Trust me, I used to subscribe to the same train of thought. I can’t count the times in my life I’d stated ‘I hate salads’, ‘salads and me just don’t go together’, ‘salads just don’t fill me up’…boy was I wrong.
The key to falling in love with salads is thinking outside the box! Break outside of the shop-standard idea of what a salad should consist of: some iceberg lettuce, a few cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, maybe some olives and a yucky looking olive oil vinaigrette. That’s not a salad. Not in my world. Not only is it not going to satisfy you but you’re sure to hear your tummy rumbling soon after! To make matters worse, you’re most probably likely to go a little ape on the salad dressing in order to compensate for the lack of flavour of the salad, resulting in a ton of extra fat drenching that lettuce…ew. Instead, think up exciting combinations of ingredients and don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual combinations and flavours, you’ll be surprised at how good salads can taste!
When creating salads there are some key elements you should be watching out for:
- contrasting textures (think crunchy, crispy, soft)
- colour (it’s gotta be visually appealing guys!!)
- balanced flavours (sweet, sour, heat, etc)
- a DELICIOUS dressing (get creative!!)
I threw together this salad for a Sunday lunch a short while back and it was so good I just had to share this recipe with the world haha. My salad leaf of choice in this recipe is the ever-popular kale. A powerhouse of nutrients and fibre packed, this guy is a fabulous edition to any salad. First things first, you need to massage that kale!! Throw you kale in a bowl and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and thoroughly massage the leaves with your hands. The citric acid in the lemon juice with help to break down the though fibrous leaves, making them softer, tastier and easier to digest. Don’t skip this step peeps.
This salad is a really good example of mixing up the textures, flavours and colours to create a really well balanced salad. The crispy apple sticks, sweet rasins, nutty quinoa, crunchy walnuts, they all combine to make a seriously nutritious and delicious meal.
Let’s talk about this dressing. This dressing is insane. I love it. Seriously.
It’s inspired by a miso vinaigrette I had at a restaurant at Barcelona this summer ( The Green Spot. Go there, their food is amazing.) It might seem a little unusual to add miso to a salad dressing but seriously, don’t knock it till you try it. The deep umami flavour of the miso is really well balanced out by the creamy tahini and sweet maple syrup. It bring this salad to a whole new level so please give it a try!
I used a little sachet of this awesome, vegan, organic, non-GMO and gluten-free miso broth, (you can find this at the health shop in town) just because it happened to be what I had on hand at the time. I’m pretty confident it would work with regular miso paste too, you’ll just have to mix a little of the paste with some water before mixing it in to the dressing.
Oh, one more thing! I happened to have peas hanging around but feel free to swap them out for shelled edamame beans. I think they’d work really well here!
- 1 cup of quinoa (cooked according to packet instructions)
- 2 large handfuls of kale
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 apple
- 1 cup peas
- ½ cup rasins
- 1 large/2 medium carrots, grated
- handful of toasted walnuts
- For the dressing:
- 1 sachet of powdered miso broth
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup (can sub agave)
- 1tsp apple cider vinegar
- Place the kale in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and massage well into the leaves.
- Cut the apple into thin battens, grate the carrots and thaw the peas in the microwave (if frozen).
- Add the cooked quinoa, carrot, rasins, apple and peas to the bowl with the kale and mix well.
- Toast the walnuts in a dry pan, crush and add to the salad.
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and mix very throughly till they all emulsify and form a creamy dressing. Make sure it's not too thick (add extra water if necessary).
- Serve the salad with the dressing and enjoy!