Salads are a bit boring

Salad with bacon, chicken and croutons

Salad with bacon, chicken and croutons

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My heart sinks at the thought of ‘just a salad’ for tea – I’m too much of a carnivore. But I don’t want to end up the size of a hippo so I’m always on the lookout for ideas to make a meal of more exciting salads.

The best lesson I learnt came from Jamie at Home – never eat an undressed salad and make sure every leaf is coated. Simple, really, but it makes a hell of a difference to dress the leaves in a big bowl rather than pouring dressing over a salad once it’s on the plate.

My regular dressing mix is an easy one – a teaspoon of vinegar (balsamic, cider, white wine or lemon juice), six teaspoons of olive oil, a quarter teaspoon of mustard (English mustard powder or Dijon) and salt and pepper. Whisk this or shake together in a jam jar until it’s thick and emulsified.

Then there’s what to add to a mix of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, spring onions, red onion, baby spinach and radishes.

Roasted chicken thighs cook quickly and if you blast the oven up there’s the benefit of salty, crispy skin on top. Cooked prawns are good, maybe warmed through in a frying pan with a bit of spice or some crispy streaky bacon or pancetta lardons.

I’ll often add thin slices of parmesan for a savoury kick in place of meat or goats cheese, particularly with a lemon dressing.

But my favourite has to be slices of chorizo fried until they release their oil and start to go crispy on the edges. Then, very naughtily, fry torn up chunks of bread in the chorizo oil to make the most amazing croutons.

Just realised I’ve spent a lot of time coming up with ideas to add calories and additional fat to a selection of otherwise harmless leaves and things. Bugger it – life’s too short to count calories.

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Categories: Healthy, Leftovers, Summer, Veggie

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