You may be thinking about some ways to make the best food for outdoor dining and there are some simple steps to making a summer salad that will mean people will be desperate for another invite to yours as soon as possible! Salads don't need to be boring. They should be full of texture and flavour and here are some of the simple steps to making a summer salad you and your friends will love.
1. Beautiful Base
Starting from the bottom up, every perfect salad needs a great foundation and there are so many salad leaves to choose from. Not all salad leaves are created equal though. For example, darker leaves will give you an iron boost whilst cos (romaine) lettuce will pack a potassium punch. If you want an array of tastes there are so many leaves to choose from. You can go for the crisp cos lettuce, the soft lambs lettuce, peppery wild rocket or bitter chicory. This is one of the first steps to making a summer salad you will adore.
2. Carb Contributions
You will need to balance your plate and your body so a touch of carb is needed. For the carb conscious amongst you this doesn't need to induce cold sweats and shivers. Just go for whole-grains which will keep you fuller for longer. Tinned pulses such as butter beans or chick peas are a delicious and healthy option too. You could instead opt for a dash of couscous or quinoa - the choice is yours!
3. Valuable Veggies
I love shredding some vegetables on my salad and carrots and courgettes (zucchini) are my go to veggies where salads are concerned. Of course, there are so many other veggies you can scatter over your salads for both colour and texture. Delicious red bell peppers, peas, radishes, spring or red onions will all add texture, colour and more importantly, flavour.
4. Fabulous Fruit
Fruit, on a salad?! I know, sounds like a culinary crime but hear me out. How about scattering some chopped figs or exotic fruits such as diced mango, pomegranate seeds, pineapple or papaya. And don't forget avocados which have the highest protein content of any fruit!
5. Protein Punch
So, you've got your base leaves covered, a touch of carbs and your fruit and veg. What about the protein I hear you cry. To make your salad filling you're going to need to add some protein. The possibilities are endless: Feta cheese, tofu, stir-fried salmon, prawns, chicken or turkey, the choice is yours. If you need some inspiration, just look at ready-made supermarket salads and replicate their fabulous ideas.
6. Delicious Dressing
Ok, I can hear you gasping with horror but dressings don't have to be full of fat. There are many ways you can minimise damage with a delicious dressing. Remember, don't go crazy with the oil and if you're cutting down on the fat, mix some fat-free yoghurt with a little mustard, basil, garlic and cider vinegar for a healthy dressing. If you want to make an oil-based dressing you can cut the oil content by replacing half of the oil with cold water.
7. Super Sprinkles
In all honesty, your summer salad is incomplete without a sprinkle of crunch. This can come in the shape of some delicious toasted seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, chia, poppy or sunflower seeds. You could also go nuts with a sprinkle of cashews, pistachios, walnuts or almonds.
Now all that's left to do is to add some sun and a few companions in order to enjoy this delicious summer salad. Does anyone else have any hints and tips for making the perfect summer salad?