Recipe: Greek Salad

So you don’t really need a recipe for a Greek salad. The ingredients, if the recipe remains true to it’s heritage, should always be the same. That is tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese, along with a dressing rich in olive oil. In my opinion it’s best served at room temperature or just under rather than straight from the fridge and makes a wonderful side dish to grilled or roast lamb. This is the way I make mine.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 350g good tomatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • A chunk of cucumber about 6 inches long, halved lengthways and cut into strips
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your prepared vegetables.
  2. Add in the feta cheese and sprinkle over the oregano.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the salt and pepper until combined. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, give it a good toss and take it proudly to the table.

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Perfect for an alfresco summer lunch!

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Salad

Sometimes you just want something light for dinner, especially when the weather is so warm, but the thought of a salad can be depressing. This is where you need to up your game and inject some funky flavours and textures into your salad to make it exciting and exotic. This is a great weeknight recipe as it can be ready in around 15 minutes and is easy to eat in front of the TV should you want to.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 3 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tikka seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp mint sauce
  • 1 pepper, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
  • a few slices of cucumber
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 ready to eat poppadoms

What you do:

  1. Put your chicken breasts into a bowl along with one tablespoon of yogurt, a good squeeze of lemon, the garlic, the tikka seasoning and some salt. Stir well and leave this to marinate for as long as you have. 10 minutes is better than nothing but overnight is best.
  2. Mix together the remaining two tablespoons of yogurt with another squeeze of lemon, the mint sauce and some salt and leave this to one side to drizzle on the salad later.
  3. Heat up the oil in a frying pan and add in the pepper and onions, tossing regularly and cooking until they start to char. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, cook the chicken pieces, turning regularly and scraping any marinade from the pan to coat the chicken. Let the chicken catch slightly to give a lovely flavour.
  5. To assemble, put 2 handfuls of salad leaves into each waiting bowl then top with some cucumber. Sprinkle over the warm peppers and onions then add the chicken slices. Drizzle over some of the mint yogurt sauce then top with a crushed poppadom each and a sprinkling of spring onion before finishing with a little more sauce if you like.

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Enjoy!

Recipe: Superfood Salad

I genuinely really like salads, I really do. But they have to be interesting, with multiple layers, different textures and little surprises. I think when people say they don’t like salads, they mean they don’t like the old fashioned idea of a salad which usually consists of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Maybe some spring onion if you’re a bit posh. The salads I make are worlds away and are exciting to eat, as well as being good for you and easy to prepare. I’ve called this one a superfood salad as it has so many amazing ingredients which pack a nutritional punch. Even if you don’t care about any of that, eat it anyway as it’s mighty tasty. I don’t measure anything for this salad so that’s why the ingredient list is a bit vague, feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • Half a cup of cooked quinoa, cooled
  • A few florets of cooked, cooled broccoli
  • Half an avocado, cut into chunks
  • A few baby spinach leaves
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds
  • A small chunk (about 25g) feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted and cooled
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

What you do:

  1. If you need to cook anything like the quinoa or the broccoli then do that according to instructions or how you like it and leave it to cool. The pine nuts and sesame seeds can be toasted in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, tossing them so they get a nice even colour.
  2. All you then need to do is layer up your salad into a lunchbox. Start with the quinoa, add the broccoli, avocado and spinach leaves, then sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, crumble the feta and add the toasted nuts and seeds.
  3. Make a dressing with the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, season it with some salt and pepper and pour it over the salad just before you eat.

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I just love the glistening puce of the pomegranate seeds against the cool, jade avocado and the bright green of the broccoli. They also provide exciting bursts of sweetness and crunch, as do the pine nuts and sesame seeds. The feta brings some salty smoothness to the party and the quinoa provides bulk to keep you full and energised until you can eat again. Give me this over a soggy ham sandwich any day.

Washing Up Score: 5/10 – I bulk cook on a Sunday so that I have things ready and raring to go throughout the week. Because of that, I end up with a lot of pots and pans from cooking everything but then don’t have to do anything else for the next few days as my lunches are good to go.