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What are the best Salad Ideas for Summer Picnics

A picnic on a hot summer’s day is a delightful way to entertain the family. Eating al fresco with a picnic hamper full of delicious summer foods and salads epitomizes a happy summertime family day out. A picnic does not have to consist of soggy sandwiches and sausage rolls; with a little thought and imagination – without too much work or expense – the family picnic can be both healthy and far more appetizing and interesting with the addition of some fantastic summer salads. Salads really capture the spirit of summer, and what makes it so much easier is the fact that in the summer there is so much beautiful, ripe and tasty produce available. A good, crisp, green salad tumbled into a bowl can be extremely enjoyable, however a salad certainly doesn’t need to be green and leafy; some of the most popular summertime salads don’t contain one iota of lettuce! Ideally a cool box will help to transport bowls of delicious summertime salads to your picnic or barbecue, ready for your guests to pile on to their plates.

There are so many great salad ideas to choose from, here are some of the best to ensure happy and contented picnic guests.

Tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is a delicious, healthy and easily transported salad that originated in the Middle East. Made with a couscous base it is nutty and chewy and has a fantastic texture to add variety to your picnic plate. It is also very refreshing with the addition of chopped cucumber, tomato and spring onions and the delicious flavours of fresh mint and parsley.

This is a salad that should be made a couple of hours in advance and well chilled before serving to bring out all those fresh summery flavours.

To make a bowl of tabbouleh you will need:-

150g couscous

½ a cucumber diced
3 firm tomatoes, diced
6 spring onions (scallions), chopped
1 tablespoons chopped parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

This is a very simple salad to make; simply place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, leave it to stand until the couscous has absorbed all the water and allow it to cool.

Mix in the prepared cucumber, onions, tomatoes and herbs and then stir in the lemon juice and zest and olive oil and season to taste. Leave to chill thoroughly, mixing occasionally.

Smoked Mackerel, Cucumber and Noodle Salad

This is an incredibly tasty picnic salad that takes only a few minutes to make but is very unusual and full of omega oils. Made in advance and chilled well a dish of this salad makes a perfect picnic accompaniment.

To make a bowl of this salad you will need:-

300g egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned and flaked
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1” piece root ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cucumber, halved and finely sliced
1 bunch spring onions, (scallions) finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

To make the salad simply mix together the soy sauce, lemon juice, oil, ginger and garlic to make a dressing. Then rinse the noodles under cold water, place in a sealable container, toss with the cucumber, onions and coriander.
Pour over half the dressing, place the mackerel over the noodles and add remaining dressing. Chill well.

Tuna and Potato Salad

This salad makes an interesting change to a normal potato salad; the addition of the tuna also adds protein and omega oils to the dish. It is inexpensive and easy to make and is always really popular with adults and children alike.

To make this tasty salad you will need: –

500g new potatoes, boiled thickly sliced

2 medium carrots, washed and grated

2 x 200g tins tuna in brine, drained

3 spring onions (scallions) chopped

1 small can sweetcorn, drained

5 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

It couldn’t be simpler to make this salad; just mix all the ingredients gently together in a resealable container and chill before packing for your picnic.

Avocado, Chicken and Bean Salad

This is a very a tasty salad with plenty of healthy protein and lots of different colours and textures. Do be sure to add the lime or lemon juice to keep the avocado’s colour. Another tip is to leave the stone from the avocado in the salad until serving.

To make this salad you will need:-

1 medium chicken breast, skinned and boneless
1 small can mixed beans, drained
1 ripe avocado, diced

½ red onion, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
¼ teaspoon chilli powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Grill the chicken and allow it to cool, then cut into thin strips. Mix together the chicken, beans, avocado, tomatoes, onions and pepper. To make the dressing mix together the olive oil, lime juice and chili powder and season to taste; drizzle over the salad. Refrigerate before packing your picnic.

These are just a few ideas to add some really tasty and healthy salads to your al fresco lunch – enjoy!