Paleo Greek salad

greek-salad

This delicious salad is packed full of flavour. You could add 75g goat’s feta cheese to make it a primal recipe and more classically Greek, but this is a nice variation without. I don’t need to tell you to use the freshest ingredients.

Paleo Greek salad
1/4 medium red onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
12 Kalamata olives, whole
8 cherry tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced

  1. Soak the sliced red onion in water for several minutes to take out the bite (optional).
  2. Combine in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Add the following dressing.

Dressing
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano

  1. In a screwtop jar or bottle combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano and season with a little salt and pepper. Shake well.

Serves 2.

Fattoush

fattoush

Fattoush is a salad from Syria containing tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and most distinctively is the sumac in the dressing. This salad is brilliant and I even went back for seconds – unheard of before.

Sumac is a berry and the powder is a deep burgundy colour. The taste is salty and tangy and pleasantly fruity with no sharpness. It is used in Middle Eastern cooking as a souring agent instead of lemon or vinegar. It can be sprinkled on kebabs and other meats before cooking and used a garnish for salads. Sumac is available from Herbie’s Spices.

If you like them, add 2-3 radishes, halved. I don’t like them much so I’ve left them out. I’ve also left out the paprika as I’m intolerant to it. The dressing is garlicky – you have been warned!

Fattoush recipe

1 pita bread
1 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthwise, cut into thin slices
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red capsicum, cut into cubes
2 handfuls of lettuce leaves, torn
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Dressing

1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp sweet paprika (optional)
1 tsp sumac
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bottle – shake to combine.
  2. Crisp the pita bread in a moderate oven or under a grill.
  3. Place all the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl. Break the bread into small, rough pieces into the bowl. Add the dressing and toss well with your hands.

Serves 2.

Thank you to Herbie’s Spices for providing a sample. 

Best recipe: Salade nicoise

Salade nicoise

I wanted to have one salad recipe in my 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge. Salade Niçoise is one of the more popular recipes so I choose it. The salad is named after the city Nice in France.

Salade Niçoise is a composed of tomatoes, green beans, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, black olives, anchovies and dressed with a vinaigrette. It is served with or without a bed of lettuce. The tuna may be cooked or canned.

If you consult your Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, you’ll want to choose fish which are ranked “Green – Better choice”, such as Australian Bonito, troll or line caught Albacore Tuna and Skipjake Tuna. Bigeye Tuna, Southern Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin tuna, and many imported canned tuna are on the “Red – no” rank.

Avoid adding cooked potatoes, rice, or sweetcorn to your nicoise – they don’t really fit into the mixture of fresh vegetables that makes up the original dish.
Provence Cookery School by Guy Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine

Salade Niçoise recipe

bunch of lettuce leaves
2 ripe tomatoes or 8 cherry tomatoes
2 eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 red capsicum
100g cooked green beans
8 black olives
200g canned tuna in springwater, drained
1 tsp lemon juice
4 anchovy fillets packet in oil (optional)

Dressing
3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
3 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

  1. Make the dressing by putting all of the ingredients in a glass jar and shake to combine. 
  2. Tear the lettuce leaves into small bite-size pieces. Rinse, drain and dry in a salad spinner.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into halves, then again into 2 or 3 wedges.
  4. Peel the eggs and cut them into quarters length-waves.
  5. Cut the capsicum into fine strips.
  6. Drain the anchovy fillets well on kitchen paper, then cut in half length-ways (optional).
  7. Select your serving dish and arrange the salad ingredients over a bed of lettuce leaves
  8. Spoon the dressing over the salad and gently toss the ingredients.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2.

Cooked for the 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge.

Curly carrot salad

curly-carrot-salad

It’s amazing how a small thing like using curly carrot can make a very simple dish more exciting. We used a Veggie Twister to create the curly carrots – and trust me it’s effortless.

2 carrots
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
parsley, finely chopped

  1. Peel the carrot and then cut into three sections to fit into a Veggie Twister, and create spirals. Alternatively you can use a grater.
  2. Make a dressing by mixing together the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and parsley.
  3. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss everything together.

Serves 4.

Yellow pawpaw salad

pawpaw-salad

A light whisked dressing of lime and olive oil is tossed into pawpaw and carrots, and garnished with coriander and almonds. Pawpaw is great for digestion.

Sometimes I’ll add half a sliced avocado to the salad. You may like to add some fresh red chilies and fresh chopped basil to add more of a Thai flavour to this salad.

Salad

1/2 yellow pawpaw, chopped
1 carrot, grated

Dressing

1/2 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Garnish

a couple of sprigs of coriander
1/3 cup of chopped almonds

  1. Add the prepared pawpaw and carrot to a serving bowl.
  2. Mix together the lime and olive oil to make the dressing.
  3. Gently stir the dressing through your salad. Set aside and leave to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. When you are ready to serve the dish, top with the coriander and almonds.

Serves 2.

Carrot, orange and currant salad

orange-salad

Inspired by Mark Jensen’s Carrot, orange and blackcurrant salad in The Urban Cook. I’ve adapted his recipe and left out the red chilli and sherry vinegar, which he added although saying it was not in the traditional middle eastern version. I’ve also reduced the ingredients to serve one person. Mark recommends having the dish in Autumn when both oranges and carrots are in their peak.

1 Tbsp dried currants or raisins
1 orange
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp olive oil
several fresh mint leaves, chopped

  1. Soak the dried currants or raisins in water to make them easier to digest.
  2. Cut the top and bottom off the orange, and then cut off the rest of the skin to ensure all of the white pith has been removed. Cut the orange into segments. Add any juice and the segments to serving bowl.
  3. Peel and grate the carrot and add to the bowl, along with the mint, drained currants and olive oil.
  4. Mix all the ingredients to together and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 1.

Market salsa

market-salsa

The markets were quiet today – just how I like them. I was able to pay straight away (without queuing) and no bumping into dogs, prams and market trolleys. The ingredients for this salad are made from purchases from the same stall where the owners play music to their vegetables. I’m hoping this salsa makes me sing all afternoon.

1 cucumber, small
handful of tomatoes
3 capsicums, one of each colour
lime, juiced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
several leaves of fresh basil
a few strands of chives

  1. Peel the skin off the cucumber and dice. Dice the tomatoes and capsicum (red, orange and yellow). Add them to a serving bowl.
  2. Add the lime juice and extra virgin olive oil with the chopped herbs as a dressing. Mix together and serve.

Serves 2.

Tomato salad

tomato_salad

You’re probably wondering why there is even a recipe here for tomato salad. A few extra simple steps make all the difference from a soggy mess into something tasty.

We have used heirloom black Russian tomatoes in this dish. Any type of tomato will do, but make sure it is ripe and flavoursome. Consider varying the fresh herbs to whatever you have in the garden. Finely chopped shallots would also be suitable.

The dressing is a little on the generous size, so leave it in a glass jar in the fridge if you end up with too much dressing to tomato ratio (like I did).

tomatoes, sliced
parsley, finely chopped
basil, f inely chopped

Dressing
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red or white wine vinegar

  1. Slice the tomatoes and place them in a colander over a bowl to collect the excess juices. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Leave to drain for 15-30 minutes. Stir occasionally, but there is no need to press them.
  2. Arrange tomato slices on your serving dish. Top with the parsley and basil leaves.
  3. Mix the olive oil and vinegar together in a cup and then sprinkle the dressing over the salad.
  4. Leave to stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Salad cheat sheet

Big M is the master at making salads and can turn any green leaf into something interesting. I need to follow a recipe or need some prompting.

I’ve just finished working on this salad cheat sheet and was keen to share it with everyone. The cheat sheet lists potential salad ingredients grouped together by type. It’s ideal to use to toss together your next salad. I’m going to colour print my version off, get it laminated and hang it up inside our kitchen cupboards.

Download a copy of the salad cheat sheet [PDF 68KB].

If you want to be inspired by words, Healthy Eating, Naturally has a good summary on salad making 101.

B.T.W. Another handy poster is The Cookbook People’s Kitchen Conversion Cheat Sheet.

Cut and come again or pick-and-pluck plants

Try saying that three times quickly. Cut and come again plants are sometimes called pick and pluck. They are a certain type of edible plant that can yield for a long period of time. Instead of picking a whole plant, simply pick off a few of the outer leaves as required. The main plant will continue to grow and produce more.

Here’s my future plan for a path side plucking area:

Divide your space up into a number of areas. The first area could be for salad ingredients that don’t need cooking. The second area could be used for the plants that need cooking before eating. You may like to also add an herbal spiral or garden nearby, perhaps in a pot or by reusing half a wine barrel for herbs like basil, mint, and parsley etc.

This area is designed to be fairly low maintenance, so I’ve given preference to perennials (p) and self-seeding (ss) plants. For some colour and interest add some edible flowers such as calendula, chamomile, cornflower, geranium, lavender, nasturtiums, stock, sunflower and violets.

For apartments and small areas, you could grow a selection of some of the smaller plants in pots or Styrofoam containers.

Some of these may be considered weeds in your area, so please check first. If you are having trouble sourcing seed try your local seedsavers or a wildflower supplier.

No cooking required

Cook these

For more information try Salad Leaves for All Seasons by Charles Dowding. Patrick Whitefield has plans for a ‘minimalist garden’ in his book on permaculture called The Earth Care Manual.

Written in part for a permaculture assignment.