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Last summer, we looked at barbecue recipes that were skin friendly and healthy and now summer is here this year (hopefully!), I wanted to look some light dishes to enjoy in the garden that compliment barbecue food. Continuing on from super foods earlier in the year, it seemed only natural to make some super salads. Not just with super foods, but with super flavours too.
Salads don’t need to be boring and it’s surprising what else you can use other than lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. I scoured the internet for inspiration on this and after seeing lots of different watermelon salads, it got me thinking about making my own version. This salad is packed with vitamin A to help your immune system, Folic Acid to reduce tiredness and fatigue and obviously is high in water content to keep you hydrated. It goes so well with a barbecue and is almost mojito-like in flavour.
- Half a watermelon, skin removed and roughly chopped into bite size chunks (try to keep as much of the juice as possible).
- ½ cucumber, chopped into bite size chunks.
- 250g feta cheese (can substitute with a crumbly goat’s cheese)
- Mixed salad leaves, I used rocket, water cress, baby kale, spinach, baby chard and shredded beetroot.
- One large salad onion, red if you can for show, thinly sliced. (Can use ½ small red onion if you prefer)
- 1 pomegranate
- 8 fresh pecan nuts
- Mixed super seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds; you can get packs of mixed seeds from most supermarkets)
- Tablespoon of honey
- For the dressing: 3 tablespoons of olive oil, juice of one lime, teaspoon of honey, ½ tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar, salt & pepper, good handful of chopped mint.
Make the dressing by whisking up all the ingredients except the mint and lime. Then squeeze in lime juice, add mint and the lime halves. Mash up the mixture like you would prepare a mojito to really bring out the lime and mint flavours. Leave to sit for at least 20 minutes so the flavours combine.
Roughly chop the pecans and toast in a dry pan with the mixed seeds. When they are just starting to toast, add the honey and caramelise. Don’t let it burn and pour the nuts and seeds onto baking paper to cool. They will stick together at first but once cooled you can break them up.
Now get prepping the salad. Add the chopped watermelon and cucumber to a large bowl. Add the salad leaves, sliced spring onion and crumbled feta. Mix the ingredients gently before adding the dressing. To serve, dish up and sprinkle the honey roasted nuts and seeds on top.
The next salad was devised purely from the need to use up a pineapple I had sitting on the side. For me, pineapple and barbecues go so well together. I often grill slices on the barbecue and as a side dish I thought there must be something else I can do with it. It is a very simple salad to make and full of goodness.
Pineapple, fennel and radish salad
- One pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into bite size chunks (try to keep the juice)
- One medium sized fennel bulb. Thinly slice using a mandolin or as thin as possible using a very sharp knife. Keep the green tops for presentation.
- 6 radishes, thinly slice four, quarter the remaining for presentation.
Toss everything except the fennel tops and quartered radishes in a bowl. Make a simple dressing of 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, juice of one lime, dash of honey. Mix up the dressing and pour over the salad. This will benefit from sitting in the dressing for about an hour before serving to soften the fennel. Transfer into a shallow dish and sprinkle with the chopped fennel leaves and quartered radish.
Fennel is said to be good for the heart being high in fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B-6. Pineapples are said to be good for immune system support, bone strength, eye health, digestion and also have anti-inflammatory benefits due to being high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Radishes are very similar being high in fire, folate and potassium.
Peach and grilled basil chicken salad
Now I came across this recipe when trying to find inspiration and there was only one like it so you have Cookingclassy.com to thank for this one. Partly, this came about again from having some peaches left over and wondering what I could do with them. The great thing about this salad is you could cook the chicken on the barbecue and add it to the salad once it has cooled down a little.
This salad, as you may gather, is low fat as you use the chicken breast and is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium from the peaches and no less than 19 vitamins and minerals from the pecans.
The peaches are also a good source of dietary fibre and I have read on www.shape.com that pecans contain 10% of your daily recommended intake of fibre in just one ounce, along with being rich in antioxidants. There is also garlic that is good for your heart, which is widely accepted to be good for your skin and with promoting hydration, and sweetcorn which again is high in antioxidants. So this salad really is jam packed with goodness and it tastes amazing.
Ingredients (serves four):
- Four ripe peaches, sliced
- Mixed salad leaves
- Handful of pecan nuts
- Salad seeds
- Goat’s cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- Generous bunch of basil
- Olive oil
First, make the marinade for the chicken. Chop the basil and add to a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste. Put the chicken breasts in a bag and pour in the marinade and leave for at least one hour. In a large bowl, toss together the salad leaves, peach slices and sweetcorn. Leave somewhere cool and do not add the dressing to avoid the leaves going soggy. Make the dressing by adding 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp Dijon, crushed garlic cloves and juice of one lemon. Leave to one side until ready to serve.
You can just pour seeds and the pecans over the top of the salad once served but I like to do it a little different. In a dry pan toast the seeds and pecans lightly, pour over some honey and as it bubbles and goes sticky pour onto baking paper. Once cooled they will easily break up and can be scattered over the salad.
When you’re ready, either grill or barbecue the chicken and allow to rest for a few minutes then slice. In a serving dish, layer on the salad. Slice the chicken and lay on top then scatter with the honey roasted seeds and pecans. To finish, drizzle over the dressing.
Now you’ve done the cooking, sit back, eat and enjoy the sun - safely, of course!
UK/IE MAT-09571. Date of preparation: July 2017