Spectacular Salads
Ingredients
  • Large handful from bag of spinach, rocket & watercress
  • Some cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 an avocado (I cut one in half an scoop the flesh out with a teaspoon, then keep the half with the stone still in for tomorrow)
  • Some leftover sliced chicken breast which had been cooked in honey & chinese five spice (a Jamie’s 15-minute recipe from dinner!)
  • A vacuum-packed beetroot, chopped up
  • A handful of lentil sprouts (from Sainsbury’s)
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Red peppers from a jar
  • Couple of handfuls of raw sunflower seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • pinch sea salt & black pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 6 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil

Be sure to check the original recipe for more details!!! 1) With my weekly shop I always, ALWAYS, make sure I buy a bag of mixed leaves – I like to vary my selection, this week it’s rocket, spinach & watercress, last week it was just rocket, – some cherry tomatoes, avocados and limes (for the dressing, see later). These make a good base. 2) Then I might some add other fresh vegetables like beetroot (either vacuum-packed or fresh, which I grate in the food processor!), carrots, cucumber, peppers, sugar snap peas, leftover roasted butternut squash to provide a good variety of colourful antioxidants. 3) And then perhaps the most important set of ingredients are the protein foods. These turn your salads into a real meal that will keep you full all afternoon. I like to add feta cheese, leftover chicken, hard boiled eggs, leftover quinoa (you can cook a batch and keep refrigerated, or buy it ready cooked), smoked trout, smoked mackerel, leftover salmon, buffalo mozzarella, ready-cooked mixed beans or lentils (such as Merchant Gourmet), sprouted beans and seeds (such as alfalfa sprouts, or Aconbury mixed sprouts from Waitrose) 4) Next are the store-cupboard ingredients which add yet another dimension to this multi-layered meal. Pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds, pine nuts (these can all be dry-fried for a couple of minutes for an extra roasty flavour), roasted red peppers from a jar, capers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelised onions (go easy, as they are quite sweet). 5) You might want to add some carbohydrate element such as cold brown rice, leftover noodles, new potatoes or roasted root veg. 6) And finally the dressing. My top tip is to always keep an empty jam jar for mixing the dressing, and use good quality cold-pressed oils from dark glass bottles. This preserves the quality of the oil and stops it from being damaged by heat, light or plastics. This is my current favourite dressing that I am OD’ing on a bit but I just can’t get enough of it. Again if you keep a well-stocked larder, you only need to add fresh lime juice (which, as you now know, is a staple ingredient of mine): (the original recipe for this, from Thomasina Miers’ ‘Mexican Food Made Simple’ – a fabulous cookbook – also adds 1 tsp of demerara sugar, but I have taken this out) Mix the mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and lime juice in an clean jam jar, and give a good shake, then add the oils, and shake again. This makes enough for 2-3 days.

Schedule this meal:

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Picture of Lauren Gayfer.

Lauren Gayfer is a nutritional therapist in Hertfordshire with a special interest in women's health, busy mums and children's nutrition.

Lauren's nutritional therapy consultations aim to inspire busy women to look and feel their best through the incredible powers of wholesome nutritious food.

Learn more about Lauren on her blog.