In Defence of Salads

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I know summer’s over, I know it’s becoming that time of year where all you want to eat is soup, and stews, and other delicious, hearty meals, but hear me out: salads.

I feel like salads have a reputation for being something influencers eat, along the lines of a bowl of iceberg lettuce and maybe a bit of chicken or a few tomatoes thrown on top. It doesn’t have to be this way! Salads can be some of the yummiest, most diverse meals out there (you can put pretty much anything in a bowl and call it a salad), and in my opinion they should be a staple in any students’ diet.

The three recipes I’m going to give you are three of my favourite salads, and none of them contain any lettuce (though you’re more than welcome to throw some in there yourself). 

Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 250g green beans
  • A tin/jar of flageolet beans (these aren’t super easy to find, but I think any health food store would stock them)
  • A small red onion
  • A pinch of oregano (optional)
  • 100g feta (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Top and tail the green beans, chop them roughly into inch long segments, then steam them for about seven minutes.
  2. Prepare your other ingredients – crumble the feta into smaller cubes, finely chop the red onion, rinse, and drain your flageolet beans.
  3. Put all the beans (green and flageolet) into a bowl with the onion, oregano, and a bit of black pepper. Mix in the olive oil.
  4. Scatter the feta on top, and enjoy!

Pepper Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 to 3 peppers (whatever colour you fancy)
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Method:

  1. Chop the peppers lengthways, so you end up with long thin strips, then chop/crush the garlic.
  2. Put a pan on low to medium heat, and put the olive oil in it.
  3. When the pan is hot enough, cook your peppers until they are soft and slightly golden brown. Add the garlic for the last couple of minutes.
  4. Take them off the heat and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle some lemon juice and black pepper on them to serve.

You can literally eat this one while still warm, but it’s just as nice served cold. And yes, it is essentially fried pepper, but it does make a delicious salad.

Roast veg salad

Ingredients:

  • Any preferred root vegetable (carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot…)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 broccoli or cauliflower
  • Your preferred spices – I often use a mix of paprika, chilli powder, and turmeric
  • 1 big tomato or a few cherry tomatoes
  • Some form of cheese such as goats’ cheese, feta, or parmesan (optional)
  • Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Chop up into bitesize pieces the root vegetable, onion, and broccoli or cauliflower, then place in a roasting pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and the spices, on about 200 celsius for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Once this is done, you can either let it cool, or if you don’t want to wait (like me) put the roasted veg in a bowl, chop up the other ingredients and scatter them on top.
  3. Serve with a sprinkle of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar – since the roasted veg are cooked in oil, you don’t need to add anymore as a dressing.
My latest roast veg salad

All of these salads last for days (so great for batch cooking), and are healthy and delicious! If you still prefer green salads, then I would recommend firstly that you stay away from iceberg (mixed leaves are probably best, otherwise rocket is lovely), and that you have a good dressing for it. Dressings are surprisingly easy to make, and the two most basic ones probably involve things you already have in your kitchen.

Oil and Lemon Juice Dressing

This is fairly self explanatory. Take about half a tablespoon of oil and distribute it evenly on your salad, then the juice of half a lemon (or, if you’re using a bottle, half a tablespoon). Mix together well and you should have a light, refreshing dressing.

French Vinaigrette

Two tablespoons of olive oil, half a tablespoon of your preferred vinegar (balsamic or red wine vinegar work best), and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Mix well and pour onto your salad to taste.

I hope you enjoy this extensive but by no means complete guide to salads! If you’re interested in more food inspiration, feel free to follow my food-related instagram account: @foody.lucy .

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