Looking for something light, yet satisfying? These simple salads from top family food cooks are major crowd pleasers!
The best way to balance out all that holiday feasting? Singapore-based cookbook author Ghillie James shares a great salad recipe to cook for guests, and has also asked some of her favourite family cookery writers for their recipes to prepare for a crowd. Here are four tasty and substantial salads to add to your holiday menus or weekday meals.
Singapore based author of Carrotsticks and Cravings Terri-Anne Leske has a delicious but quick-to-prepare chicken salad recipe in her second book, Family Favourites, which can easily be multiplied for bigger numbers. Turmeric is a super spice with many fabulous nutritional benefits, so your guests can feel good while they eat it!
4 chicken thighs
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper
2 tsp turmeric
Pinch cumin powder
½ cup tri-colour quinoa
1 cup rocket leaves
1/3 cup pistachios, chopped
1 cup pomegranate seeds
20 cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp chopped flat parsley
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Juice of ½ lemon
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Marinate the chicken in lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt, pepper, turmeric, and cumin and place in a non-stick baking dish.
Bake chicken for 20 minutes until cooked through.
While cooking place quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water or stock, bring to boil, reduce to low heat and cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add more water if needed. Fluff with a fork and leave covered to cool.
In a salad bowl mix together rocket, pistachios, pomegranate, cherry tomatoes, chopped herbs and lemon juice.
Add quinoa and cooked diced chicken (with juices) and stir through salad, serve with extra pomegranate and pistachios.
Cooking Them Healthy is a fabulous website for mums to trawl for healthy eating ideas as well as salads like this one, which the grownups will love, too. This is a great salad which you could serve as an accompaniment as well as a veggie standby alongside some warm roasted pumpkin.
150g bulgur wheat
25g dried berries
25g pumpkin seeds
50g toasted pinenuts
40g feta, crumbled
½ zest of one lemon
A handful of fresh rocket, chopped
1 tsp bouillon powder (approx)
Rinse your bulgur wheat lightly in a sieve and then pop into a saucepan and cover with boiling water so there is about 1 cm of water on top. Sprinkle over the bouillon.
Bring up to the boil and then simmer gently for 5-10 minutes or until the grain has puffed up and absorbed all the water and is soft when tasted. If it’s still firm but dry, add a splash more water and continue to cook until done.
Take off the heat and cool.
Then, simply add all the other ingredients and mix well. Add enough olive oil to coat the grains and add flavour.
Season well and serve.
Jane Lovett is a cookery teacher in the UK and the author of Make it Easy. See Her recipe for Tuna Niçoise is from her latest book The Get-Ahead Cook (published by Apicius. It’s an ideal recipe for al fresco eating with friends.
300g (11oz) fine French beans, topped but not tailed
12 quail’s eggs (or 4–5 hen’s eggs)
Mixed salad leaves (such as 1 small bag of baby spinach, 1 bag of mixed leaves and 1 round lettuce)
450g (1lb) waxy new potatoes
cooked 1⁄2 a red onion, sliced very thinly
250g (9oz) cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
12–15 black olives, stoned
8 anchovy fillets, snipped into slivers
2 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 x 225g (8oz) tuna steaks
1 tsp tapenade
FOR THE DRESSING
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
7 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon
Fresh, vibrant and very savoury, this salad transports me straight to the Mediterranean. Perfect for even the hottest of days, with the added bonus that it can all be prepared the day before, ready for a last-minute assembly job minutes before devouring.
- Cook the beans in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, cool under cold water and dry well on kitchen paper.
- Bring the quail’s eggs to the boil in a pan of water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water and peel, then submerge in a bowl of cold water.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together.
- Scatter the salad leaves over the bottom of a large platter, tearing any larger ones. Scatter over the beans. Cut the potatoes lengthways into three or so and halve the eggs. Arrange the potatoes over the beans, followed by the red onion, tomatoes and the halved eggs. Dot around the black olives and anchovies.
- Heat a frying or griddle pan, until very hot. Spread the cracked pepper onto a plate; rub a little salt into the tuna steaks and then press into the pepper to coat. (Alternatively, grind pepper from a mill over the steaks.) Rub with a little olive oil and sear for about 30 seconds on each side. Slice diagonally and arrange over the salad. Spoon over the dressing. Mix the tapenade to a sauce consistency with some olive oil and dribble over the salad.
All the components, except for the tuna, can be prepared up to a day ahead and kept covered separately
in the fridge. However, if not serving warm, the tuna can also be cooked a day ahead and sliced when required.
Hints & Tips
- Dressing the salad 15 minutes or so before eating gives the flavours time to meld together.
- Use two tins of tuna, drained, instead of fresh, if you prefer.
Sassy Mama contributor Ghillie James is author of the cookbooks Grains are Good and Asia Light. Here’s her recipe for a simple Asian style beef salad. If you like you can cook the beef on the barbecue, just finish the marinade off in a frying pan. Find her on Instagram for more cooking tips and recipe inspiration.
For the dressing
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
For the salad
2 thick sirloin steaks
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp canola oil
2 green chillies, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
100g mangetout or sugar snaps
1 large mango or ½ a large papaya, peeled, deseeded and sliced
a handful of beansprouts
½ telegraph or 1 Japanese cucumber , sliced
½ Chinese cabbage shredded
handful mint torn
1 tbsp chopped coriander
Put the steaks into a bowl with the lemon juice and the fish sauce and a grinding of black pepper and set aside for 30 minutes-2 hours.
Make the dressing by mixing all ingredients together and set aside. Plunge the mangetout or sugar snaps into a pan of boiling water for 20 seconds, then drain and put into iced water to stop them cooking.
Heat the canola oil in a frying pan until very hot, then add the steaks, drained from their marinade and cook for about 3 minutes each side or to your liking.
Put the steaks on a board to rest, then add the garlic and chilli to the pan and toss for 20 seconds before adding the remaining marinade and bringing up to the boil. Keep to one side.
In a large bowl combine the remaining salad ingredients – mangetout, mango, beansprouts, cucumber, Chinese leaves, mint and coriander, with half the dressing. Slice the beef and add to the marinade pan to toss together, before adding it to the salad bowl. Toss once again and add extra dressing if required.
Jane Lovett Tuna Nicoise image by Tony Briscoe.