Celebrating summer salads

As I have mentioned before, it took me a long time to make friends with salad. In my new job, all the crew want to eat is salad. Now salad and I are getting intimate several times a day…ahem! So rather than the plain old leaves with a bit of floppy cucumber (oo er!) and anaemic tomato tossed in I have been finding proper chunky salads that are more of a main meal than a sappy side. Here are a couple of my favourites from the last few days; combining the use of leftovers AND fresh seasonal veg, two of my favourite things 🙂

Pasta Salad

Pasta (great way to use up some left over Pasta Pesto or a tomato pasta), salad leaves (a nice mix of Kos lettuce, rocket, baby spinach, don’t just use Iceberg its sooo lame…), avocado, black olives, plum tomatoes, capers, mozarella, basil leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper

Get a bowl, put some salad leaves in it and make sure they’re all mixed up and in bite size pieces. I really hate it when there is a whole leaf of lettuce all up in my salad, I feel the need to cram the whole thing into my mouth at once and then I look daft (well, more daft than normal anyway) with all that green on my face. Anyway, mix your cold, leftover pasta with a little olive oil or an extra spoon of pesto then top the salad leaves with it. On top of this layer spread a chunkily chopped tomato, half an avocado (or if you’re like me and loooove avocados, a whole one), torn up bits of mozarella, olives, capers, and the basil leaves. Season with half a ton of pepper, more olive oil and a good sprinkling of rock salt. Serve with crusty bread and wine (which should go with every meal except breakfast when tea is obviously more appropriate…maybe).

My best friend (and then I ate it...)

My best friend (and then I ate it…)

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (if making from scratch allow to cool), chickpeas (tinned or jarred, the dried ones are soooo much faff), red onion, sun-dried tomatoes and some of their oil, lemon juice, parsley, black olives (using up the jar from yesterday’s pasta salad), interesting lettuce (i.e. chicory, rocket, watercress, etc.), cucumber, avocado (I really do like them), feta cheese, toasted walnuts.

Cook the quinoa as instructed on the packet. Put in a mixing bowl with the chickpeas. Add finely diced red onion, lemon juice, sliced black olives, roughly chopped parsley, sun-dried tomatoes and enough of the oil from their jar to loosen the mix. Put salad leaves and cucumber slices into a bowl and top with quinoa. On to this spread chunks of avocado and crumbled feta then sprinkle some toasted walnuts over the top too. Dress with more olive oil, salt and pepper.

I served these for lunch to the crew and the captain came back from seconds and thirds…so they have his seal of approval at least. Now go and try them and give me yours too 🙂

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