Health, Latest, Lifestyle

Seven Zesty Salads To Try Before Winter

One for every day of the week!

By Sherazade Khan

Much as you’d like to deny it, here we are, sitting in the midst of September, thinking: Winter is coming. Game of Thrones may be aeons away, but the cooler months are just around the corner. Not only will you have to do away with your chic summer wardrobe and sun your toes, but also your cool, refreshing lunches! The cravings for a hot cup of cocoa and rotis fresh off the tawa will leave no space for zesty green salads.

Enjoy these last few days of the splendid summer with some of our favorite salad recipes. These will have you (and your guests) going in for third (even fourth) helping. And why not? It’s just salad!

So, chomp chomp.

Chatpata Kachoomar

There’s no denying that our very own desi salads burst with flavour and tanginess. Here’s a chatpata twist on the kachoomar you can try with daal chawal, barbeque, and raita or even on its own!

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You’ll need:

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cream or fresh malai
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • Salt as per taste

Mix the lemon juice, cream, chaat masala, and salt together for a nice dressing. Add the salad veggies and the dressing to a large mixing bowl, and toss to coat evenly. Cover with some cling film and let it chill for two hours before serving.

Greek Salad

One of the healthiest salads around, it’s quick and easy-to-make with nothing but raw veggies, packed full of goodness! A staple that you can eat over and over!

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You’ll need:

  • 1 head of lettuce (preferably romaine), washed and chopped
  • ½ medium onion, sliced
  • ½ each red and yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (if you can’t find these swap out for normal tomatoes and slice)
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado (if you’d like to add it), cubed
  • ½ cup olives (whichever you prefer, we like kalamata) thinly sliced
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled (add more or less as you’d like)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

We recommend using a salad spinner to ensure the lettuce stays dry and crisp. Add all the ingredients together and keep it refrigerated. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper in a bottle and shake vigorously until you get the perfect mixture.

Just before serving, pour the dressing over salad and add crumbled feta on top.

Quinoa Salad

This bright and cheery salad is light and citrus-y. Quinoa in itself is full of nutrition and protein, but you can also add some grilled chicken to make it more filling.

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You’ll need:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (zeera)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp (increase if you can handle the heat) red chilli flakes
  • 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup coriander (hara dhania) chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Take a bowl and whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, one tsp salt, and red chili flakes to make the dressing. Then take a separate bowl to add quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and green onions to it. Now pour dressing in and toss. Once everything is well coated, add the coriander and feta. Season with salt and black pepper as needed and serve immediately.

Bread Salad

Swap out the bread for croutons if you like, otherwise this tangy salad is great with rustic bread – either fresh or leftover. There’s a bit of both, Turkish and Greek inspiration, in this Mediterranean recipe. It’s full of flavour and natural goodness.

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You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cubed (2-3cm) ciabatta or French bread
  • 2 small cucumbers cubed
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges (6 pcs per tomato)
  • ½ large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 cup loose coriander, chopped
  • 2 tsp sumac (if you can get your hands on some) or ground anardana
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spread out the bread on a tray, drizzle some olive oil, and sprinkle salt (preferably flaky rock salt) on top. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy and golden. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, mix all the other salad ingredients. For the dressing, combine lemon juice, zest, crushed garlic, vinegar and olive oil, and add salt and pepper as per your requirement. Once you’re ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing, sprinkle the sumac or anardana on top, and mix in the toasted bread using your hands.

Vietnamese Chicken & Mint Salad

This salad, courtesy of Nigella Lawson, is sure to leave you feeling full and smacking your lips. Not only is it zesty and flavourful but packs a punch with chillies!

The best part? It stays good in the fridge for two to three days and only gets more flavorsome.

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You’ll need:

  • 1 Thai hot chilli seeded and minced (swap out for 2 thin green chilies if needed)
  • 1 fat glove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 ½ tsp fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely sliced
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 200g shredded white cabbage (approx 2 cups)
  • 1 medium sized carrot, shredded or grated
  • 200g cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 ½ cup mint leaves

In a cup, combine chilli, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, fish sauce, oil, onion, and black pepper and set aside for half an hour. Take a big bowl to mix cabbage, carrot, chicken, and mint. Now pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well (use your hands if necessary) to get everything thinly covered. Add more salt or pepper if needed and garnish with some mint leaves.

Serve in a shallow plate.

Thai Noodle Salad

A meal on its own, this divine salad is nutritious and delicious! The little bit of work required in preparation is sure to pay off as you dig into this seriously zesty salad with a kick.

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You’ll need:

(For the dressing)

  • ½ cup canola (or vegetable) oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup peanut butter

(For Salad)

  • 4 oz egg or rice noodles, half cooked, drained and set aside in a bowl of cold water
  • ½ kg boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups baby kale or spinach
  • 3 large carrots, cut into small, thin pieces
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into small, thin pieces
  • 1 cup packed coriander (hara dhania) chopped
  • 4 spring onions, green parts only, chopped
  • ½ cup cashew or peanuts
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds white and black

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Add all the ingredients for the dressing, minus the peanut butter, in a blender and pulse. Place the chicken in a plastic bag with ½ a cup of the blended dressing (without the peanut butter) and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Add the peanut butter to the remaining dressing and pulse once more in the blender. Set aside.

Now, sdd all the veggies together in a bowl and toss well. Bake the marinated chicken for 15-20 minutes or until done and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and adding to the veggies. Drain the noodles, toss them in a skillet over medium high heat, with a little oil and some dressing till they’re cooked. Put everything together and top with extra nuts, sesame seeds, coriander and dressing!

Steak & Salsa Salad

If you love meat and need your protein but want to cut out the carbs, then this wholesome steak salad will help you forget your love for bread. It’s hearty, filling and bursting with flavour.

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You’ll need:

  • ½ kg beef undercut in 2 250g steaks
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • 1 medium green pepper, julienned
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 6 cups shredded lettuce
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 normal tomatoes wedged)
  • ¾ cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sliced green chilies
  • 1 tbsp diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Dash of salt & pepper
  • Add tortilla chips if desired

Marinate the steak with Worcestershire sauce, cover with a clingfilm, and refrigerate. In a small bowl combine tomatoes, jalapeno, green chilies, coriander, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Now make a mixture out of lemon juice and sugar and pour over the salsa. Set aside in the refrigerator.

In a large skillet, sauté the onions and green pepper in butter for a few minutes, be careful because you don’t want t lose the crispiness. Add the undercut and stir fry until meat is no longer pink. Spoon meat over the bed of lettuce, garnish with tomatoes, and top it with salsa!