I do quite like making salads using a range of ingredients. Even as it gets colder I do like a salad either as a meal in itself or as an accompaniment to something else.
This was a recent tasty salad that I made using butternut squash. I cut up the butternut squash into chunks and roasted in the oven with some olive oil.
Once this was cooked I constructed the salad. I started off with a bed of mixed leaves. I quite like butterhead lettuce you can get from various supermarkets, or the rosa verde salad bag from M&S.
To this I add cubes of cucumber, sliced tomato, slices of red pepper, sweetcorn, pomegranate seeds, mozzarella, thinly sliced radish and Serrano ham. I also used a nut and seed mix from Aldi to add some crunch.
You can dress the salad with a dressing, sometimes I do a simple French dressing, sometimes I let the natural flavours work their magic.
With this beautiful hot weather we have been eating a lot of salad. Recently I have been plating up salads for people using individual tapas style bowls. These I “picked up” from Lidl in their Sol Mar Spanish Tapas dishes in the freezer, which come with some useful little brown tapas dishes.
The advantage of these over plating onto the main plates is that they take up less room and it’s easier from a portion control perspective. The advantage of merely creating one big salad is that in the family some people like some salad items and others prefer something else. I like tomatoes, but another member of the family prefers grapes in their salad.
Depending on what we have in the fridge and the cupboard will determine what goes into the individual salad bowls.
I quite like to add a base layer of houmus to mine, to which I then add a handful of mixed lettuce leaves. I add slices of “heritage” tomatoes, slices of radish, sliced pepper, pomegranate seeds and diced cucumber.
Other ingredients I have used include batons of cucumber, grapes, sweetcorn, mixed pulses, sometimes raw red onion.
I rarely add dressing, but if I do, usually I just add a drizzle of olive oil and some white wine vinegar.
Using the fine dicer, I diced the peppers, onion and cucumber before stirring them. I then added the sweetcorn, the olive oil and white wine vinegar. Add seasoning and the chilli flakes to taste. This was then thoroughly stirred and covered for a hour or two.
Sometimes speed and ease is what is needed in the kitchen. I do use tinned pulses and beans a fair bit in my cooking. Though I know I can buy dried, soak and cook them myself, I do find that using tinned is quick and easy. It also allows for last minute changes to recipes or what I am going to cook for dinner.
One problem I do have is that sometimes a regular sized tin of pulses or beans is too big. So I was pleased to find these small tins at my local Waitrose of Cannellini and Borlotti Beans.
What is also nice about these is that the beans are not in brine, so less salty.
So how did I make the salad?
Well it was literally thrown together very quickly. I cooked off the pancetta in a frying pan and then mixed it with the drained beans and sweetcorn. I then dressed the salad with olive oil, white wine vinegar and freshly ground black pepper.