Are you stumped on how to whip up the single best salad ever? Well, we've spoken with nutritionist and author, Zoe Bingley-Pullin about what goes into perfecting the salad, how to store it and the hot new superfoods to throw in too!
Salads are the holy grail of spring dishes. There is nothing fresher for the palette – and the health – than a salad so we spoke to Zoe Bingley-Pullin, Nutritionist, Chef and Author of Falling In Love With Food about what it takes to perfect this pretty amazing dish!
“When putting together a salad – which can be considered a balanced meal – I like to use the following formula of a base, protein, low-GI carbs, healthy fats and crunch factor!” she enthuses.
And this doesn’t need to be an extracted process, Zoe adds. Even with minimal ingredients, the perfect salad can eventuate.
Like any superfoods, certain salad ingredients come in and out of favour. This season, Zoe dishes up the best picks:
Presentation of salads fires up the taste – and most likely your instagram feed! Here are the best according to Zoe.
Add these denser fillings to make a side salad a main meal.
Want to avoid #soggy? Then store your salads in the fridge always, suggests Zoe. “The length of time they are good for will vary depending on ingredients,” she adds. “As a guide keep covered and stored for approximately one to three days.” However salad will go soggy the longer kept, so always avoid dressing until serving and if you can put the salad together just before serving so the vegetables will retain more crunch. “Making sure salad leaves are well dried before use will also reduce the risk of soggy leaves!”
Here are four salads for you to try.
Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
3 cups cooked freekeh (1 1⁄2 cup of raw freekeh, will double once cooked)
1 large beetroot, peeled and cut into small ¼
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
½ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tahini paste
½ tsp. honey
2 tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup EV olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and cook the beetroot in the oven for 20 minutes. Combine the freekeh, beetroot, onion, hot pepper, almonds and coriander. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the freekeh.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
250g wholemeal spaghetti
1 cup carrot, julienned
¼ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
¼ cup raw cashews
1 tbsp. EV olive oil
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1 lime, juiced
3 red chillies, julienned
½ bunch asparagus, blanched and cut through the middle
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook it for 10-15 minutes, al dente. Leave to cool to room temperature. In a blender, thoroughly combine cashews, olive oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, lime juice and enough water to make a runny consistency. In a large mixing bowl add all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the asparagus but including the pasta and gently combine. Mix through the cashew dressing.
Serve in a large decorative platter with asparagus on top.
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
1 bunch of kale, stem removed and roughly chopped
1 punnet of blueberries
1 avocado, skin and pip removed, cubed
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
In a large bowl gently mix all of the salad ingredients together. In a glass jar or small bowl mix together the dressing ingredients. Gently mix the two together and serve on a platter.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Avocado and honey dressing
1 tbsp of honey
1 avocado, diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp mixed zest, (orange, lemon and lime)
⅓ cup of fresh mint leaves, picked
⅓ cup of fresh basil leaves, picked
¼ cup of olive oil
2 tbsp of water
1 red capsicum, trimmed and cut into 2-3 cm lengths
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-3 cm lengths
1 cup raw broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
1 cup grated beetroot
1 cup grated carrot
2 cups fresh wild or baby rocket, washed
½ cups tamari roasted almonds
2 eggs, cooked to your liking, halved
Combine all dressing ingredients, blend until smooth. Set aside until needed. In a large mixing bowl, toss to combine the capsicum, beans, broccoli, beetroot, rocket, carrot and almonds. Dress the salad and toss again. Place a handful of the salad onto a plate and top with the eggs.