In the summer, salads are a healthy and refreshing meal option. They are light, flavourful, and can be changed based on what is in season.
A salad is more than selecting fruits and vegetables at random, and tossing them into a bowl with some lettuce.
Choosing ingredients that complement each other and a dressing that ties it all together is key.
To satisfy your salad cravings, we spoke to cookbook author Chantal Lascaris on her latest recipe book called The Ultimate Salad Book, which has launched just in time for summer. We also speak to her about sensational summer salads that people can try at home and her top tips and tricks on making these salads.
Lascaris says it is officially time for the salad to take centre stage. And we are listening.
A long-standing champion of the home cook, she sets out to celebrate salads in a way that is exciting, fun, nutritious, and – most importantly – delicious, with her newest recipe collection.
Bringing together her passion for healthy living, and an invigorating international flavours, the cookbook features an array of recipes that will inspire all cooks – from the beginners to the experts – as well as the guests who find themselves lucky enough to be seated at the table when serving.
With the heat of summer steadily rolling in, there is arguably no better time to invest in some salad inspiration – particularly when Lascaris makes the recipes so interesting, easy to follow, and packed full of fresh and nutrient-dense ingredients.
“I have always been more interested in the aspect of healthy eating, as opposed to cooking fancy meals. From the outset, I have tried to make cooking simple, healthy, and accessible, by giving a lot of choices with loads of flavour,” she says.
The Ultimate Salad Book features more than a hundred tried-and-tested recipes for any event, using simple and nourishing ingredients, listed alongside beautiful and inspirational food photography.
It also includes a yummy selection of make-it-yourself salad dressing recipes that will ensure you are able to keep it interesting from one day to the next.
Every page carries the ever-present invitation to expand your dining horizons beyond serving salads as a simple leaf-based side dish, inspiring you to explore interesting flavour combinations that will see you enjoying salads for breakfast, lunch, dinner – and even dessert.
Chantal Lascaris’s top tips on making healthy salads at home:
- First, I think it’s important to realise that a salad can be a main dish. It doesn’t have to be relegated to the sidelines of a meal. So include proteins like chicken or fish or if you’re vegetarian whole grains, beans, and nuts. You’ll get all the nutrients your body requires, in one delicious salad.
- Start growing your own herbs. Not only is it incredibly rewarding but you’re getting the freshest ingredients you can. They’re quite easy to grow and you don’t need a whole veggie garden, even a windowsill will work.
- Too often when cooking, we find ourselves adding a bit of this and a bit of that and then being tempted to add just a little bit more. Sometimes though, less is more and salads are no exception. Sometimes the simplest salads are the best. Use the freshest in-season produce you can find so that each ingredient’s flavours and textures stands out.
- Make your freezer your friend. Especially your ice trays. They’re perfect for pouring the balance of the pesto sauce into and invariably one or two cubes are all you need next time around. This applies to freshly squeezed lemon juice too. Why squeeze only one lemon when you can squeeze a few?
- Nuts and seeds are great healthy additions to a salad. Lightly toast nuts and seeds in a dry frying pan, over medium heat. But keep an eye on them, as most tend to burn easily. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Pine nuts will turn brown almost immediately and will burn faster than you think. When roasting nuts, I make more than I need and keep the rest in a glass container.
Below she shares a quick recipe that you can try.
“One of my favourites is what I call the Kyoto salad. It comprises, amongst others, edamame beans which is a variety of the common soybean. Soya is a good source of protein and provides a healthy dose of fats & carbohydrates.
“In fact, this salad is packed with protein as the chickpeas are also protein-rich. The mango brings some sweetness, while the cucumber creates the freshness, making this the ideal salad to have on hot summer days,” Lascaris says.
The Kyoto salad
1 cup shelled edamame beans
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup diced mango
½ cup diced cucumber
2 tbs diced red onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Black sesame seeds and micro herbs for garnishing
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp crushed garlic
Cook the edamame beans according to the package instructions.
Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
Whisk the dressing ingredients, pour over the salad and toss gently to combine.
Chill in the fridge. When ready to serve, garnish with black sesame seeds and micro herbs.