I want you to rethink salad. Salad can be a bland mix of 4 things chopped up. Or, it can be extraordinary. A symphony of flavours that blows you away. It can be so good that even your kids come back for more. How? By making it with passion and using certain methods and ingredients that I am going to explain to you.
As a Mum, when I make my big salad batch, I feel happy. Happy because I know my family will be eating countless vitamins and minerals every time they get a serve from the one dish! Happy because it is just so yummy we can hardly stop eating it! Happy because this salad is so great for our gut health and body health!
‘Some of my kids don’t like salad!’ I hear you say. Well, I am going to teach you the skills of making a salad that is next level. The type that has a flavour that is actually addictive! It is also robust so you can make a large batch every few days and save time. I have collected salad ideas over decades and also from my time working in cafe kitchens. The recipe I share today is do-able for busy mums and you don’t need an employed kitchen hand!
Here are my tips on the art of making an extraordinary salad.
- Start by rethinking salad. Firstly approach it with an attitude of creativity. Make it with some passion, and, use a wide variety of ingredients, colours and textures. This starts when you shop. When I roam my large vegetable shop, I grab all kinds of things like coriander, red onions, fresh corn cobs, sweet potato, a nice cabbage, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, celery etc etc. We also grow a bunch of different herbs like garlic shoots (from garlic cloves), coriander, parsley, chives, mint, etc.
- You need a big bowl and a sharp knife. Easier to mix and easier to chop. Make enough for a few days and you will save a LOT of time getting lunch or dinner ready, every day! If you don’t have a big bowl use your very largest cooking pot to mix it in.
- Get everything out of your fridge and just go wild and crazy and chop and mix. There are no rules but read on for tips on achieving maximum flavour and nutrient content.
- Cabbage. The secret of big batch salad making is cabbage. I learned this from my Swedish Mother in law. Her salads stayed crisp and crunchy as she usually used cabbage as a base instead of lettuce (which goes soggy). Use any kind of cabbage but try find ones that are fresh and crunchy not limp. I chop it very finely (sharpen your knife to get thin slices).
Cabbage also has astounding health properties! A cabbage may be as plain as Clark Kent but it is really is Superman of the vegetable world. It has significant amounts of many vitamins and minerals like Vit K, C, B6, Folate. It is a powerful antioxidant and therefore anti-inflammatory. It is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre which help beneficial bacterias flourish in your gut. This is just the beginning of the health properties of cabbage. We should eat it every day!
- The next secret is to chop up most of the ingredients finely (even grate some). Fine chopping releases flavour of the plants involved. It also takes up less space to store in the fridge!
- The most important thing. Try to use around 10-12 different plant ingredients. This is the secret to creating a complexity of flavour which is addictive. Importantly, if you include many colours and types your salad is a serious vitamin and nutrient kick.
- If time permits, take your salad to the next level by adding a baked ingredient or two. Baked vegetables have amazing flavour. Bake up some cubes of sweet potato/pumpkin or potato. Bake cubes on baking paper, in moderate oven, with oil, salt and pepper sprinkled on top. You can even do a large batch and store in the fridge.
- My favourite Dressing. The day my kids got addicted to my salads was when I started making a simple lemon juice, garlic and salt dressing. see recipe below. This dressing is also immunity boosting. A good mayonnaise is another option.
- Oil. I also drizzle over some olive or sesame oil. I do not blend the oil into my dressing as it stifles the flavour of the lemon and fresh garlic.
One Dozen Plants Salad recipe.
My favourite ingredients.
-1/3 of a cabbage very finely sliced. Put in a big bowl. Lay all else on top.
– tomatoes diced
– carrots grated
– corn kernels (cut them off a fresh cob, but you can use frozen)
– sprouts if I happen to have some
– a handful of 2-4 different herbs (coriander, chives, garlic chives, mint, etc.
– 1 apple finely chopped
– 1/2 a red onion finely chopped
Dressing that adds zing, and boosts your immune system.
-Juice of 1 medium sized lemon (and/or Apple Cider Vinegar or Kombucha)
-2-3 teaspoons sea salt
-2-4 garlic cloves chopped up finely
Blend and mix through the salad.
Separately add olive oil or sesame oil drizzled over and tossed through.
THAT makes around 12 plant ingredients (including the lemon and olive oil).
Also use some of these for variation.
– celery chopped finely
– cucumber chopped into strips
– sun dried tomatoes chopped up
– some other greens can be good like a bit of rocket.
– fresh raw beetroot, grated
– 1/2 a zucchini grated or chopped (not much as it is quite wet)
Avocado and/or Beans are excellent additions, but only add them into what is served. Do not have them in the main batch or it won’t stay crisp.
Chop everything finely (except tomatoes which can be cubed), then mix the salad very well. Store in an airtight container with a lid/glad wrap. Not too much air. Refrigerate. wp new editor where are wp new editor where are
Enjoy your One Dozen Plants Salad!
Here is a photo of one I made recently with a fair amount of grated zucchini and some pinto beans.