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Summer Salads

At a time when appetites are typically dulled, it is the job of a summer salad to tempt us to the dinner table despite a common apathy.

Regardless of the type of salad you are making, or the recipe you are using, these simple tips will help to ensure you and your loved ones survive these hot, dry months.

Shop as often as you can manage. Buying small amounts often means that you can always choose those ingredients that look the freshest. It also allows you to take advantage of daily specials.

Choose a large variety of ingredients When you’re buying lettuce, buy a couple of varieties, or a ready-mix pack, as different leafy greens have their own set of minerals and vitamins, not to mention flavour. You can keep costs down here by planting your own mixed, non-hearting lettuces. They are easy to grow and take little space. although, having said that.

Buy the best you can afford.

Keep your eye on colour and texture. Check out your local food court and you will soon realise that the salads that we are most drawn to, are the ones that explode into your vision with their crisp clash of colours that seem full of fresh promise. As little at two colours can achieve this effect, but again, try your own flavours.

Read and experiment. Read as many recipes as you can find and try any of the flavours you haven’t come across before in a salad. This is the quickest way to build your own repertoire of ingredients. For example, you may enjoy the freshness of a Vietnamese salad, but find it a little too spicy. By taking the mint and lemon flavours and adding them to your own favourites, you will soon be making your own recipes.

The dressing is part of the salad. This sound simple but what it means is that the most boring salad can be made attractive and deliciously original just through a slight change to a dressing. Dressings are simple so be brave. The basic ingredients are 2 parts oil to 1 part acid. After that, there are no rules other than not using so much dressing that the weight makes the salad saggy. Then go for it.

I don’t think you need follow recipes for salads terribly religiously, so, instead, here’s a quick word about ingredients.

We all know salads contain green bits and some other shaped green bits, with maybe some red bits, right?

Well, it’s not completely wrong and it’s actually a fair place to start. Just don’t stop there! To help nudge you along, here is a short list of not-green-or-red-things you may like to try adding to your next salad:

Toasted seeds

Nut butters (add to dressing)

Tahini (add to dressing)

Roasted garlic

Crisply roasted mushroom slices

Pesto (try different ones)

Cranberries

Zest from your favourite citrus fruit