Salads are no longer just boring tomatoes, cucumbers or even sprouts. A little creativity can make them go beyond the ordinary. Yes, even if it is a vegetarian one. Summer is an excellent time to enjoy salads made from fresh produce from the farmer’s market or your own garden. One inviting aspect of summer is, a table full of fresh salads. For many foodies, salads are a big turn-off as they as labelled as diet food. But I disagree. I love salads and enjoy them as much as any other food. They are healthy (well, almost always), delicious, fresh and crunchy. A colourful mix of whatever young lettuces, tender greens, herbs or other seasonal produce is freshest and most abundant in the market should be used. And so much can be done with salads.
Fruits can be added to vegetarian salads to make them even more interesting. A summertime staple, watermelon is inexpensive and refreshing. It’s also good for you because it contains lycopene, a winner in the antioxidant arena. Apples make a savoury salad when combined with mushrooms and greens. Pomegranates add a zing to the salads as do oranges and pineappple. Just give me a salad–vegetables or greens–tossed in a flavourful vinaigrette in summer and am happy. That’s summer one-dish dining for me.
I am not a great one for salad dressings. Especially mayonnaise. I prefer a simple lemon juice dressing, which makes the salad super-refreshing. Also try yoghurt. It is a great low-calorie option and versatile too. And if you are making a salad of cooked ingredients, you may add the dressing earlier so it penetrates the ingredients and flavours the salad completely.
Cheese, nuts, raw vegetables, potatoes are some options. Of course, non vegetarian ingredients include chicken, shrimps, red meat, the list is endless, but in summer, meat is best avoided.
But my all time favourite is, fresh shredded vegetables, topped with ground peanuts, all bathed in a salty, sweet and spicy sauce. Yummy. C’mon I am heading to have my salad for lunch.