I love salads.
What a lame beginning.
I’m unsure of myself here. Today. On my own blog. I can’t believe its been three months since I was here last.
Sigh, life is happening even as we speak. And still, I love salads. And I’m here. Showing up on the page.
Talking about the wonders of savoury salads. Of colours and textures, of layers and flavours. And green and root vegetables.
I’m of the opinion that there is a general formula for salads and its always about balance – therein lies the art. About that combination of sweet and salty, spice and crunch. And heft sometimes, lightness – others. Of herbiness. And of a combination of a few of these.
I like how salads run the gamut – from making me feel as though rivers run through my centre, to being comfort food.
My formula varies but… here it is in general: Focal point + crunch + herbs + sweet + citrus etc etc
I often have salads with no more than a quirt or squeeze of citrus, or a drizzle of olive oil. If I make noodle or grated (carrot, cassava) salads, I love a peanut butter dressing.
Here it goes, a brief discussion on the ‘elements’.
There should be one main ingredient around which the salad is built, constructed. That could be some vegetable or grain, or cereal. Something to gift/give the dish a name.
Case in point? Beetroot salad. Should have beetroots front and centre. And Beetroots with a salty cheese and orange are a classic. In this case, I replace the oranges with kumquats.
Some ingredients work well together – tomatoes, cheese, basil. Fennel and Orange. Beetroot with walnuts or pecans. Noodles with sesame seeds or peanuts.
Crisp & Crunch
From vegetables, or fruit, or nuts and seeds.
Like a Cucumber and Apple salad, where crisp and crunch bring texture and lengthen chewing which is good for fullness, digestion and portion control. Apparently, each mouthful should be chewed twenty or thirty times before being swallowed. As in…they should be liquid.
Seeds and nuts – both raw and toasted lend something too. Best sprinkled on just before I eating so they remain crunchy.
I like an element of sweet in most of my salads. Often dried and fresh fruits work well – a tablespoon or two of raisins, sultanas, cranberries, sprinkled on top or folded into meatier salads.
Fresh fruits – mangoes, stone fruit, berries even can cushion, soften, sweeten stronger flavours.
I find they are a good complement for citrus and herbs.
I tend to combine soft fruits with other soft elements and then I add contrast and crunch with nuts.
Soft herbs are my absolute favourties here – I like the combination of intense flavor and scent. Top of my list – cilantro. Cilantro. Cilantro.
I can live without it, but I don’t want to.
Next on the list are scent leaves. Of Nigeria. Fragrant and also known as Efirin – a combination of mint and clove and citrus flavours.
From zest to juice and segments, oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes
Leafy Vegetable Salads
A few ideas to inspire
Root Vegetable Salads
Grain & Noodle Salads
Soba Noodle Salad, with peanut butter dressing
Fattoush, with pita bread
Peace and Love.
What are your favourite salad recipes/combinations?